A/N: This can be set in between S9 and S10. I apologise for any factual mistakes in advance. It's kinda CSI: Miami kinda rewritten since this story embodies Ryan leaves mid-way of S5 to join the Marines after talks with the recruiter from 5x10 about joining, ridding of the gambling/debt storyline continuation. Though it is hinted at something he'd done that he could've been fired for soon enough..

Not sure about pairings yet. This will be a slowly updated story, but I want to make an effort. Still in the works with some other stories.

Song mentioned: "Tongue Tied" by Faber Drive.


When Ryan resigned, it took a lot of people by surprise. Him of all people would give up a job that he had always put his 100% into. It didn't seem like something he'd do without a reason. Nobody knew if it was that Al-Qaeda related case, or the army recruiter's death that may have thrown him off focus. His father used to be a marine after all. He'd almost not made it back from his last operation as a Marine. Being from a military family, he must've felt left out that he was the only one not to follow the same route.

Nobody could actually make sense of it though. There weren't many of them with knowledge of the Marine Corps. Wolfe seemed to have left before what could've been a disaster that would have gotten him relieved of duty.

That's what people thought. But Ryan, in truth, had never not thought about joining the Corps. His only concern was that he wasn't taken seriously enough because of his height and smaller stature. He didn't want to have to put on serious lbs. He'd weighed the same weight since college.

However, the recruiter case had shone a light on the brutal reality that soldiers encounters. Every second he risked his life for the national safety of the country. Didn't mean it rid of the idea Ryan had. He went back to the recruiter's office after the case, having received a personal request for an interview, and spoke with the recruitment officer. His personal interest in the case had led the recruitment officer to believe that Ryan thought about signing up.

So he gave them a filled in form with things not even his colleagues knew about him. His medical records, parents' background and all things relevant to the background check. You had to qualify as a US Citizen first off. Anyone who didn't pass was harshly rejected without hesitation. Ryan had hoped that the fact he wasn't born in the US wouldn't matter. His mother's Israeli roots wouldn't contribute to a rejection either. He needed to be accepted.

They said they would get back to him in a few weeks after talking to their bosses.

Being the son of an army veteran did give some leniency. He waited impatiently for the results. Checked his mail more often than usual. Made sure all his work was up-to-date and any in-progress cases would be in position to be handed over to another CSI in case it played out the way he had so desperately prayed for.

When the letter did arrive, his parents were actually in Miami visiting his Uncle Ron. Ryan's dad, Randall "Randy" Wolfe, opened the letter for him since he seemed more anxious than Ryan was. And the young man never showed his anxiety. His reaction didn't give away anything. Not until Ryan read the letter for himself did he realize why his dad had nothing to say. He'd been accepted.

Going through boot camp meant not only would he have to prepare, he also wouldn't have the time to work the extra hours he occasionally did.

His dad still had a GySgt's persona to him when it came to raising kids. Ryan admired his father, and had since he could remember. It's why he stayed active from a young age. Constantly keeping his body in shape, mentally and physically preparing himself for what could one day be his time. Being in the army wasn't a romanticized job. It was gruelling. Only a few could hack it. Randy wanted Ryan to join the Corps. Figured it would be a job meant for someone as determined and strong as him. The cop thing was great, but it didn't bring Ryan to his full potential.

Randy believed that his youngest needed a real push to become a true man. Becoming a soldier would be the perfect way to assert self-confidence and give him a wake up call. Not that he really needed one. Ryan was more than self aware.

He gave Ryan the most professional, unbiased and hardcore training for the next few months. They even went out to places to keep the experience fresh and something that didn't have a place he could get used to. The CSI worked hard and never spoke to his dad as son during training - he was just soldier-in-training in those moments.

It subsequently paid off. The real training was an even more intense version of the preparation he'd been through with his dad. Agility, mental strength, confidence and compliance played a key part in getting him through. Being able to listen to the loud, demanding voices of superiors without arguing back or failing to comply. Ryan didn't need training for that. He was mentally able to withstand the pressure without cracking. The tough past brought him to that place.

Though he learned from it and grew wiser with the experience.

It had been five years since anyone had heard from the younger man after he was first deployed. Although, Eric had heard the most from him and had been first to know about the acceptance letter. He sent letters often to assure him that he'd not been killed in combat. Though there was no return address. And the letters were always proofread to make sure nothing that could be intercepted and used against them if the letter should fall into the wrong hands.

Delko knew that him and his team had been sent into a vastly dangerous situation in South America somewhere. You couldn't really get much from a censored letter. Eric made Ryan promise to write to him (via a letter), just for sake of knowing that he was still out there. And he did.

'Delko,

It's my fifth year as a marine. I honestly didn't think I'd last this long, but I'm glad that this is where I am. Protecting and serving those back home. You only realize how unfavorable it is once you're too far deep to quit. Perfection ensures reinforcement under attack. It's either prepare for it, or you'll be surprised when the danger you signed up for comes.

Hope everything is ok.

- Wolfe.'

Every week, Delko received a handwritten letter from Ryan. Sometimes they had faint drawings on them, but other times the amount of words was limited. And the country was coded into the text as a way to assure his safety. P-E-R-U had been the most recent one. Danger lurked within it's boarders. This mission could get him killed, although, Ryan always insisted he wouldn't die. Only to not worry him. The possibility was inevitable to understand.

But on the 3rd March, 2010 - it was announced that the base in Peru had been set on fire and many soldiers had died.

Eric heard nothing from Ryan for weeks. It was meant to be his final year as a marine before he would be honorably discharged from service. Bodies were yet to be identified and the casualty number hadn't yet been revealed. If Wolfe had been one of the many unfortunate souls, then it meant that the only thing anybody had to remember him by would be his badge.

The matter was being investigated, nevertheless, he held vigil in fear that Ryan may return home in a casket or in pieces. It couldn't be that way. Eric secretly convinced himself that everything would be okay. That somehow the younger man had managed to evade such a detrimental event.

He arrived at work that morning with the last letter from Ryan in his blazer pocket. Just to keep hope. Even though Jesse and Walter had only met Ryan briefly before his redeployment last year, they too had heard about the attack. Though unaware the man who's spot they filled happened to be in there. The Cuban didn't mention his position to anyone. Not even Calleigh or Natalia. They wouldn't of known. It was only him that the former CSI exchanged letters with.

As he walked with Walter, humming the tune to a song he heard Ryan sing once:

"Bright cold silver moon

Tonight alone in my room

You were here just yesterday

Slight turn of the head

Eyes down when you said

I guess I need my life to change

Seems like something's just aren't the same

What could I say?

I need a little more luck than a little bit

'Cause every time I get stuck the words won't fit

And every time that I try I get tongue tied

I'll need a little good luck to get me by.."

He had a great singing voice, it was a wonder that he hadn't sung more often. Eric kept imagining him singing the song. Watching him do a little dance around his lab while belting out into song. It was.. cute.

Gosh, he was beginning to sound like his sister. "Hey Delko! Focus!"

Walter broke his daydream. "Yeah, yeah.. floating vic. I'll go get my gear."

Simmons shook his head. He didn't know what had gotten into him, however, he decided not to push as long as the Level 3 CSI remained aware of what he was doing and stop daydreaming. It seemed to be a reoccurring habit. And these envelopes. With no return address. He knew that Wolfe wrote letters to Delko, though it surely wouldn't be the reason. They'd not seen each other in a year and a half. For more than an hour in five years.

Ryan was fine.. wasn't he?

Surely.

The lieutenant, on the other hand, was more than aware of the situation in Peru. Kyle had informed him that the name 'WOLFE' popped up on the list of missing personnel from one of the US Marines Corps' special operations team.

He had faith in Ryan. Of course he would survive.. he's a survivor after all.