A/N: Although I originally planned to leave it at two chapters, this story kinda intrigues me with the storyline picked out. Marine, writes letters to Eric, gets hurt in harm's way, worries Eric, time goes on and Eric can't stop wondering if he's ok, Ryan's plane ride back to Miami from DC.

This is a bonus, in some aspect, but I didn't mean to label the story under the romance category since slash is only hinted. It's my first Eric/Ryan story, which is why I'm tentatively evolving the confidence of my writing ability in this story. Slowly.


Saw you walk into the room

Thought I'd try to talk to you

Babe am I ever glad you wanted me to

It's been two years to the day

Half the time I've been away

I know I'm not there enough but that's gonna change

'cause I'm coming back

To show you that I'm keeping the promise I made

After a lengthy trip back to Miami, Ryan went back to his condo and passed out on the bed. He hadn't slept in days. So this would be his only chance to catch on some ZZZ's before he went to the MDPD Precinct the next day. Him and his buddies had a fun trip to Miami International, singing songs and sharing memories. It made him think about what would happen when he did see Eric.

As if serenading him with a sweet song he had apparently had stuck in his head hadn't been the key factor in letting him know how much he truly cared.

He stopped by the florist on his drive downtown, picking up the same batch of yellow flowers that he always hand wrapped for visits to the grave of CSI Tim Speedle. Ryan believed in respecting your predecessor. Which is why he made a habit of going to the graveyard, laying some flowers and venting to the spirit of the holy father and his angels in need of guidance.

"I know I'm asking a lot this time, Speedle. Coming here and blushing red as a rose over the realization that I should've spoken to Eric sooner. I broke my promise."

When I'm with you I'll make every second count

'cause I miss you

Whenever you're not around

When I kiss you

I'll still get butterflies years from now

I'll make every second count when I'm with you

Ryan took off his hat, kneeling down in front of the grave and sighing. "Why does he make me feel.. different?"

Unknown to Eric, Ryan kept the picture he sent to him while he was in Somalia for another classified operation. Probably the only picture of them together. Taken by a woman, who thought they were a couple when they went out to dinner one night.

Once Ryan would have laughed if anyone ever assumed he were the boyfriend of Eric Delko. Said that the man hated him, and would never consider the thought of liking him. He couldn't say that he was as hysterical about the situation as he'd once been. Ryan did miss the Cuban-Russian, despite his refusal to vocally admit it.

Time with him seemed endless. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes like hours.. any chance to just say hi before he left would be worth it. The butterflies he got just thinking about what an encounter five years later would be like.

It made him wish he'd spent longer with Eric before leaving.

Yeah we've had our ups and down

But we've always worked them out

Babe am I ever glad we've got this far now

Still I'm lying here tonight

Wishing I was by your side

'cause when I'm not there enough

Nothing feels right

So I'm coming back to show you that

I'll love you the rest of my life

So after leaving the graveyard, Ryan made sure he had the gift brought for Eric wrapped neatly for giving. He got it whilst in Brazil on vacation, though he'd never had the confidence to give it to Delko until then. When all he really had was time.

Driving to the precinct gave him major deja vu. Probably because he drove the same route for five years beforehand, when he was an officer for the PD. Now he was just a returning soldier coming back home. If Calleigh, Natalia and Alexx had responded to his letters then they probably would have known as much as Eric did. But not a single one sent him a letter back.

He remembered when Eric only ever used harsh comments when talking to him, still stinging over Speed's death. Resentment was one of the most painful things he'd ever been victim to emotionally. Feeling on your own on a team deemed to be family. After a year, when they finally somewhat accepted him, it wasn't as bad. Ryan hadn't wanted to leave because otherwise it would prove that he couldn't handle it. His goal remained to prove them wrong. That he could do the job well.

Stepped on a few toes, got off on the wrong foot and didn't exactly get on anyone's good side - the chance of feeling like he truly belonged were slim. Even when Boa Vista became a CSI, he felt like she'd been more quickly accepted than he ever was. He supposed that was the harsh reality of being someone's successor.

When I'm with you

I'll make every second count

'cause I miss you

When ever you're not around

When I kiss you I'll still get butterflies years from now

I'll make every second count

When I'm with you

Whatever it takes I'm not gonna break the promise I made

When I'm with you

I'll make every second count

'cause I miss you

Ryan picked up the present, locked up his car and headed into the building. He wasn't sure what to expect. Stares came from every person he walked past. It was either the uniform or the ash marks on his face. He first greeted his old patrol buddies, returning as promised. They all rushed to him with hugs to share. News of the fire at base had spread like wild fire.

Even some detectives came to see for themselves the news that Ryan Wolfe was back.

After so much attention, Ryan didn't feel like he really wanted to be ambushed with hello's and how are you's but he hadn't even done what he wanted to do. There was still Eric's letter to deliver, alongside the present and a few words of gratitude. Soppy stuff really wasn't Ryan's fortée.

He took the elevator to the floor the lab was on. Nervous, he gulped and impatiently waited for it to reach the level of choice. Eric worked overtime on Thursday's, so Ryan had no doubt he would be there. It was still morning after all.

Ryan signed in with the receptionist, receiving a pleasant "welcome back" from her too. She gave him a visitor's badge and told him to look out for Lt. Caine since he'd want to talk. There were a lot of people about that Ryan didn't recognize. New A/V tech, new DNA tech and in trace too. Cynthia still worked in QD. That gave him some sense of familiarity, but nonetheless, things had subsequently changed.

What if things really weren't the same with me and Eric?

The longer he stood in the waiting area, the more impatient he became. He knew how slow pagers could be on occasion but this shouldn't be a bad time. Wolfe was only passing through after all.

So lost in thought, he hadn't noticed the curly-haired man that walked into the empty hallway. Eric had to blink twice to make sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. Ryan really was there. Dressed in his slightly dirty uniform, still in a state from the incident. He looked great though. His muscle looked more defined and his hair was it's natural light brown color that looked blonde in the sunlight. He knew Ryan when he saw him.

Only Ryan could pull off an outrageous spikey hair style that wouldn't look professional on anyone else.

"Wolfe,"

Ryan stopped pacing when he heard Eric's voice. He turned around, eyes widening to observe Eric's appearance. The only different was that his hair had grown out again and he wore more blazers all of a sudden. From miles apart to steps away. It felt surreal. Wolfe tentatively ambled in Eric's direction, pursing his lips nervously.

They stood in silence for a moment, still not believing the fact that they were no longer so far away from one another.

"Cat got your tongue again, Wolfe?"

Eric couldn't help the remark. It was natural for him, usually Ryan would've said something with an undertone of sarcasm and he would have a reply for it. "Shut it, Delko. I came to say hi."

There's the callous remark.

"Sorry.. how are you doing?"

"Better than before," Ryan reached into his pocket and pulled out the envelope containing the letter he never got to send. "So what have you been up to lately?"

Eric smiled as he took both from the younger man. It was so unlike him, to actually give him something without having some help. He saw the Brazilian flag stuck to it, which gave him the feeling that's where he'd wrapped it. Rio. Not exactly a place he's going to be allowed back to anytime soon.

"Aside from missing your smartass remarks? Not much. Lots of work, not enough hours."

"Cool. So you like Tongue Tied?" Ryan said, changing the conversation.

"The song? Oh yeah. Do you have any good Faber Drive songs to show me?" Eric asked with a chuckle.

Another song? Ryan wasn't too sure what Eric would think of this one. But if he listened to the song, he would get what he'd written in the letter. He pretended to think for a moment, fiddling with the silver chain around his neck. Eric observed him curiously, wondering what he was thinking about.

"When I'm With You." He finally answered. "It's a good one."

"Nice. I'll make sure to listen to it when I get the chance." Eric assured him, smiling widely.

Ryan was about to respond, when a man joined them. Dirty blonde hair, slight taller than Ryan, brown eyes. Clad in a navy t-shirt and black jeans. He flung his arm around Eric's shoulders, grinning. Eric looked happy to see him. Wolfe didn't say a thing as he studied the man in question. He should know not to interrupt two friends having a nice reunion after not seeing each other in person for a long time.

"Hey babe, who's this?"

Babe? Who is this guy?

Eric glanced to the blonde haired man, then to his former partner. "This is my friend, Ryan."

Wolfe could feel his heart shatter. He wouldn't let Eric see it, but this hurt worse than his knee did and it was bruised badly. So much for trying to open up to him. There wouldn't be a point now. Ryan could not believe Eric hadn't told him that he had a boyfriend. Five years and nothing. Nothing at all about a relationship.

The only relationship he'd been wondering about was theirs. If he could even call it that.

"Hi Ryan! I'm Ethan. You're the friend sending 'Ric letters, huh?"

"Yeah.. um, I just remembered that I have a flight to Chicago booked and I need to pack. It's been nice meeting you, Ethan," Ryan turned to Eric. "Goodbye Delko."

He knocked shoulders with the Cuban-Russian as he zipped past, walking with pace out of the hallway. Ryan didn't even look back. As soon as he finally comes to terms with his feelings, it's revealed that it wasn't worth it. He wished he hadn't sang with him, then maybe he wouldn't have warranted room for love in his heart.

Eric frowned, disappointed Ryan had left when he seemed so excited to meet him.

He went onto YouTube and searched up When I'm With You as soon as he got home following his shift. The same words were repeated in the letter he gave him.

I'll make every second count, 'cause I miss you..

These song choices were very distinct. Music was Ryan's guilty pleasure. He could've selected a number of songs that he listened to, but he chose this one with lyrics that made Eric wonder.. what was the purpose?

Tongue Tied, followed by When I'm With You, and something scribbled out on the back of the paper.

Eric used a digital program to restore the message, in despair for anything that could help him understand what Ryan was feeling when his smile disappeared after Ethan introduced himself. It broke his heart when he realized what Wolfe had scribbled out:

'I love you.'

When I'm with you

I'll make every second count

'cause I miss you

Whenever you're not around

When I kiss you

I'll still get butterflies years from now

I'll make every second count

(Make every second count)

When I'm with you

When I'm with you

When I'm with you

When I'm with you

Yeah