Disclaimer: I do not own CSI: Miami, Anthony Zuiker, and CBS do.

Author's Note: What if Horatio had met Marisol earlier than what on canvas? How would it have unfolded?

Beta'd by calleighstorres

Mentions of/Spoilers For Kill Zone (1.09)


-May 2004-

It was a warm evening in Miami. Horatio was now waiting for his beloved to arrive at the promenade overlooking the one the sandy beaches of Miami. Tonight, he was about to ask the most crucial question that would change not only her life but also his as well. He recalled the day that he had met her, thus beginning a courtship that at first progressed slowly.

~Eighteen months earlier, November 2002~

Once they had caught the sniper responsible for shooting at the people who were downtown and going about their day, Eric thought it would be good to bring Horatio with him to the big family gathering. He knew that his family would want to thank him for catching the sniper, therefore, protecting his father.

At first, Horatio wanted to decline but realized that he had only an empty house to go home to. So, he agreed to go with Eric. However, what Horatio didn't know yet was Eric had an ulterior motive for asking Horatio to come with him. His parents had wanted his eldest sister Marisol to get married and settled down like his 2 other sisters Lucia and Isabel already had.

No sooner had they arrived at a house (that looked like its space was tight with four children but still had a comfortable feeling to it) when he met two of Eric's older sisters, Lucia and Isabel, and their respective families.

Horatio knew that Eric was the youngest of four kids and that now the eldest sister Marisol, but she was nowhere to be seen. He was subsequently bombarded by Carmen with a big plateful of food and thanked by Pavel for continuing to make Miami safe and have Eric work with him instead of a job without other prospects (especially with his degree in Chemistry). Soon Eric was chasing one of his nephews, Roberto, for splashing him with a water balloon, Horatio talked with one of Eric's nieces, Sofia, who wanted to be a police detective like her Uncle Eric when she grew up.

There out of the corner of his eye, he saw a beautiful young woman walking towards where he was sitting. It didn't take long, and Horatio realized it was the last of Eric's sisters that he hadn't met yet. Horatio felt his breath hitch as she came closer. There was something about her he liked; then again, he had also liked Latin beauties. The young woman reached and crouched down to Sofia's level and said, "Sofia, why don't you go and find Abuela and see if she is ready with the dessert."

While Sofia loved her conversations with her uncle's boss, she knew to listen to what was asked of her. Sofia said, "Sí Tía Mari."

Looking at Horatio and said, "Thank you, Mr. Horatio, I hope to talk with you again sometime soon."

She then took off at full speed. Marisol took the seat that Sofia vacated. Following a brief moment of silence, Marisol said, "So you're the lieutenant that my brother has gone on and on about."

She held out her hand and added, "I'm Marisol, by the way."

At that, Horatio turned bright right and managed to get out, "All good things, I hope."

Taking her hand and shaking it, he said, "Horatio."

Marisol smiled. She looked even more radiant when she did as the pearly whites were captivating. It wasn't long before they were talking and keep the conversation flowing. It wasn't long before Horatio had gotten her number. They got to know each other better. He found that she was working as one of two assistants at a boutique firm but hoped but hope to one day a copywriter.

As soon as he changed his outfit, Eric came out of the house, and there he saw his boss talking with Mari. He smiled. He walked up and spoke, "H, I see that you have met my sister Marisol."

They were so into it they didn't hear Eric and were startled. Eric smiled and thought, this would be interesting to see if anything develops between them. Soon the three of them were in conversation. By the end of the night, Horatio headed home as he still needs sleep and be ready to lead the team the next day. But not before saying Marisol saying, "I enjoyed talking with you, Lt. Caine. Maybe we can meet up sometime?"

Horatio smiled while his insides were dancing away at the prospect. So, they exchanged numbers and promised the stay in touch to arrange for their first official date. It was great at first, but as was the second date. Not long after a problem arose, Marisol became as they say hard to get. She seemed to have limited availability and hard to get a hold of and always sounding busy. Then again, with her work as an assistant, her time is limited. Then there was her seeking attention but brushing it aside when he was free. What drove him crazy was how she didn't seem to pay attention to what he was saying.

Eric knew all about this. Seeing his boss in distress, he approached him to help him out. Eric approached Horatio's work area and asked, "H, got a minute?"

Horatio looked up from the computer, replied, "Sure, what you do, you need Eric?"

Eric said, "H, I know that you like Mari. She likes you too. She likes to test guys. In the past, sometimes the guys give up easily. Others succeed in the first test but then get too cocky and fail with my parents."

Trying not to sound desperate, Horatio asked, "What can I do?"

Eric replied, "Well, you just have to wait for the right time to perform a subtle act of heroism."

Horatio nodded. Now all he had to do was wait for the right time. He didn't have to wait long. One week later Horatio and Speed had just come out of questioning a witness when they were heading to their respective Hummer. Just as Horatio had one foot on the in his vehicle when he caught sight of Marisol, she was with a friend and looks like they were about part ways and head in different directions. Mari had the right of way as the light was green, and the car had the red light. Nonetheless, Horatio saw a car barreling toward Mari as she stepped into the crosswalk. Without a second thought, Horatio jumped out of his vehicle, pushed through the crowd, and bolted towards them. Right as he was close to her, and he yelled, "Marisol Delko!"

Mari had barely seen the car in the corner of her eye when she felt something crash into her, sending her flying onto the concrete street's hardness just out of the car's path. It took Marisol several seconds to fully realize the chaos around her: shouts from people, curious pedestrians stopping to help or walking by and staring. With horror, she saw who had pushed her out of the way. It was none other than Lt. Horatio Caine. He was unconscious, sprawled on the street, that his sunglasses were knocked off his head and broken in two, with his eyes were closed and blood pooled around his head. At sight, she wanted to panic but knew she had to keep calm. She made her way on unsteady legs over to him.

However, before she was able to say anything, the driver of the car had approached her. "Ma'am, I'm so sorry," the young woman gasped. "I accept full responsibility for what happened and have already called for an ambulance."

At Marisol could only nod; she knew had it not been for Horatio, it would have been either her lying in the street injured, or worse. Although she wanted to help Horatio, she was too shaken up. Next thing she knew, there was an off-duty nurse who came by to help Horatio. In the meantime, Speed, who had seen Horatio taken off and then seen who he had pushed out of the way of the oncoming car and in the process, himself getting hit. He ran over the where the ensuing chaos, after seeing people already checking on Horatio, he checked on the woman. Full knowing that she could be traumatized, he gently approached her, "Ma'am, are you okay? "My name is Tim Speedle. I work at the Miami-Dade Crime Lab with Lt. Caine."

Marisol looked up at him, and Speedle knew who she was related to Eric as her eyes gave it away. Soon the police and ambulance arrived, one paramedic went to work on Horatio while the other EMT gave Marisol a quick checkup. When it was done, Speed had given the paramedic Horatio's information and both Horatio and Marisol were loaded into the ambulance and taken to Miami General. During the ride, Marisol called her boss and let her know what happened and needed to make sure her rescuer would be okay. Her boss understood and gave the rest of the day off.

To Marisol, it felt like an eternity before she finally arrived at the hospital. One doctor took care of Horatio while another had her checked out. But to Mari, her injuries weren't her main concern when the lieutenant's condition was still unknown. It took the doctor who was cleaning the gash on her cheek to say in an irritated voice, "Ms. Delko, please hold still."

Marisol apologized and let the doctor do what he needed to do. Once she was cleared, she rushed to the waiting room, where instead of sitting down to wait, she began pacing back and forth while awaiting news on Lt. Caine's condition. As she continued to pace back and forth, she began to berate herself on what she did to bring them to today's events. Good job Mari you screwed this one up, how are you ever going to make this up to Lt. Caine?

Meanwhile, Speed had just finished making the call to Eric and the others at the crime lab, letting them know of what had happened. He then headed to the waiting room and saw the young woman pacing. He could tell that the young woman felt terrible for everything that had happened. He had heard snippets of what had been going on but stayed of his boss' personal life as not to earn his ire. He slowly walked up to the young lady and said, "Ms. Delko?"

Startled, Marisol suddenly stopped and looked up, and Speed asked, "Can I get you anything to drink?"

Mari shook her head. She knew the CSI meant well, but she said, "Just water, please."

Speed nodded and went off to get them each a bottled water from the vending machine.

Mari continued to pace as she waited for news on her savior. Suddenly she heard, "Mari!"

Marisol looked up, and there stood Eric with a worried look. No sooner had she walked up to her brother when he engulfed her in a bear hug. Marisol asked, "Eric, how did you…"

Eric answered, "Speed called me and filled me and came as soon as I could."

Following quick introductions, they sat and waited for news. Soon the whole team made to the ER waiting room. They were all on the way back to the lab when they heard and rushed in. There Marisol met Lt. Megan Donner, Detective Calleigh Duquesne, and ME Dr. Alexx Woods. A short time a little bit later, they all heard, "Family of Lt. Horatio Caine?"

Eric stepped forward and said, "We work with Lt. Caine at the Miami Dade Crime Lab are the closest family he has, how is he doing, doctor?"

Dr. Daryl Gelvin answered, "Lt. Caine is fortunate. The impact of the collision he should have worse injuries, but he doesn't."

Everyone let out a visible sigh of relief, except for Marisol, she still felt terrible. The doctor added, "He did, however, sustain he's sustained moderate injuries: two cracked ribs, a head wound, a minor concussion, and a sprained right wrist and left ankle. He could be out of work for at least several weeks, especially with the cracked ribs."

Right now, he's sedated and resting comfortably. They're going to keep him overnight for observation of his concussion. If you want to see him, he's in room 107."

While everyone felt better Marisol still felt terrible. The doctor then asked, "Which one of you is Marisol?"

Everyone looked at Mari, and the doctor knew. He said, "As I was treating Lt. Caine kept repeating your name. It would help him to see you."

Mari looked unsure, and Eric said, "Don't worry, Mari, I will go with you."

Once Eric explained to the doctor his relationship with Marisol, the doctor gave his approval. The others headed back to work and would be by later. Eric and Marisol went into Horatio's room. They both were shocked, Marisol especially when they saw his head bandaged and hooked up to machines. They both were shocked, Marisol especially. Eric said to his sister, "You know, Mari, he cares about you."

Marisol said, with tears in her eyes, "How could I have been so oblivious and selfish for the way I acted?"

Eric turned her around and looked her in her eyes and said, "Mari listen to me. You are neither. You just wanted to make sure you are the guy who is worthy of your time and love. Now you know how he is. Horatio would do anything for you."

Marisol said she would stay, and Eric volunteered to get her items from her work. Marisol nodded, and Eric left while Marisol took a seat close to Horatio. Marisol placed her hand on Horatio's hand. Taking a deep breath, Marisol said, "Horatio, I am sorry I played hard to get. I know Eric has told you I did it for a reason. I want you to know that you passed, and I will make sure to help you get better. Whatever you need, I will be there for you."

Eventually, she fell asleep on him when she felt a hand brush her hair. She awoke with a start and looked Horatio straight in the eye. His gorgeous blue eyes met her chocolate brown ones.

Marisol said, "Horatio, I will go and get the doctor, and then we can talk."

Horatio nodded as best he could, and she went to search for his doctor.

~Present day: June 2004~

Ever since that day, Marisol had not only helped him heal from his injuries by helping nurse him back to health, they talked and became very close. When he had completely healed, he courted her and treated like a queen. Marisol, at the same time, loved all the attention he showered on her, and she especially loved all the kisses they shared, especially the passionate ones.

There were times when the other guys Horatio tried to dissuade her from being with him, but she said, "Who I date doesn't concern you so, please get lost."

Right then, he saw a vision in blue coming his way. Truth the matter was that she looked in any color and every color. But the most important thing was about to happen. When she reached him, Horatio pulled her into his arms and gave a loving kiss, which instantly grew in intensity.

Once they parted for air. Horatio began what he had planned to say. "Marisol, from the first day that I met you at your parents' house, I began to feel feelings I had never felt when I dated another woman. From that time on, I never wanted to be with anyone, you have made me happy, and I never want to live my life without you again."

At that moment, a unique fireworks display, and when Marisol turned, what she saw made her gasp. It said, "Marisol, will you marry me?"

Marisol then looked over at Horatio and didn't see him, but when she did see him down on one knee with a ring box open. Marisol started crying tears of joy. She bent over, placed her hands on his handsome face, and kissed him sweetly. Following the kiss, she stood up straight and said, "My handsome Horatio, you have brought so much meaning in my life. Without a doubt, yes, I will marry you."

With the biggest grin on his face, Horatio took the three-stone princess cut diamond ring set in a white gold band out of the velvet cushions and slid it on to Marisol's finger. It was a perfect fit. Horatio stood up and picked her up and spun her around, causing her to wrap her arms around him and squeal with joy. When he put her back down on the solid ground, he did something he wouldn't have otherwise done, shout out loud, "She said yes!"

For Horatio, he had found someone he would love for the rest of his life. For Marisol not only found her prince but someone truly worth her love.


A/N 2: Thanks for reading "Finding Love". As always reviews are appreciated!