Disclaimer: I don't own CSI: Miami, Anthony Zuiker, and CBS do.
Author's Note: A Horatio and Natalia love story that came out of reading all the Horatio and Natalia already on this site! Just to this out there, I love both the Horatio/Natalia pairing and Horatio/Marisol pairing. It is just too bad that Horatio didn't get more time with Marisol.
Beta'd by: calleighstorres
Natalia groaned out loud. She was so tired and ready to head home to eat, get a soak in, and get some shut-eye. It was also the one day Natalia would rather forget, Valentine's Day. As a child, she loved the holiday when she would get candy and cards from classmates. As she got older, she began to despise it. During the time she worked at the FBI the day where no one paid any heed to it, which was fine by her. At the crime lab, there were boxes of chocolates, but that was it. Then she also thought about how there was one other person who didn't like this holiday, Horatio.
Speaking of Horatio, she hadn't been able to thank the many times he helped after that case or came to her rescue many times. She despised, ending up like the damsel in distress, but stuff happens. Once they finished their double shift, she went and looked Horatio but couldn't locate him. This was especially true after her ex-husband died in which she and Valera had been suspected of committing. Had it not been for Horatio and the team believing in her and Valera, she didn't think she could make it.
On her way out, she saw Eric in the evidence locker getting dressed up. Natalia walked in and couldn't help but joke, "Oh, Delko, do you have a hot date tonight?"
Eric smiled and replied, "Wouldn't you like to know Natalia."
Natalia smiled and bowed her head. Eric saw a hint of sadness. When he had heard about how Natalia was FBI mole, it hurt when the betrayal was revealed, but at the time, he and Horatio were on a path to getting revenge for Marisol's murder, so he was the first giving her the benefit of the doubt. But Eric also sensed something was up. Nodding his head and saying, "Talia, something tells me that you didn't find me for small talk."
Natalia looked up and sheepishly she nodded her head. She said, "Um, I was wondering if you have seen H anywhere."
To which Eric asked, "What for?"
Natalia answered, "Well, to thank him for helping me quite a bit lately."
Eric said, "Come on, he knows your thankful."
Natalia replied, "Seems like I should take him to dinner or something."
Eric smiled. Natalia's loyalty shined through. Eric said, "Um, after our case wrapped, H went to visit Marisol."
Natalia knew that H was at Marisol's grave. Something he did after they solved a tragic case. Or in the case to celebrate Valentine's in his way. She remembered how she had to convince Eric to go to be the witness at Horatio and Marisol's City Hall wedding. She had heard about her death and was inwardly she was also crushed like they were, but at the time, she couldn't do anything as she was still undercover as the mole.
She understood that private time at a loved one's grave was that, private. She said, "Okay, I will catch up with Horatio during our next shift and talk to him."
Eric nodded, and they went their separate ways. The next day she runs into Horatio on the breakroom to get their assignments. While waiting for the others to arrive, Natalia went up to Horatio. She said, "Um H, I wondered if I could take you to dinner after work."
Horatio tilted his head a little and said, "What for Ms. Boa Vista?"
Just the way he said her last name made her shiver. Natalia took a deep breath and said, "Thank you for all the time that you had saved me. The past few years, from starting with when I was held at gunpoint, you rescued me even when that gunshot badly injured you, and I insist."
Whoa, there Talia coming on a little eager, are you?
With a subtle smile on his face, he replied, "There is no need. But if you insist."
Right then, the rest of the team had arrived, and they got started with the day's case assignments. He was glad that she asked first he didn't think he could. As he was in his office, later on, Horatio was doing some deep thinking. Horatio had liked Natalia as more than a friend for some time like him in a different way was dealing with personal issues.
While they had agreed to dinner together, they were never able to go as they became swamped. The cases kept coming in, keeping them busy. Then there was a tragic case where Ryan was accused of killing ASA Josh Avery when the perpetrator was Samantha Owens.
With the case done and Samantha in jail, they were at a restaurant for after-work drinks. At the same time, he and Natalia were getting the drinks for the crew; that was when Horatio saw his chance to make his feelings clear and to let her know. Without any other warning, Horatio leaned in and kissed her tentatively. Natalia was surprised at first. Instead of pushing him away, she kissed him back.
As that went on, Eric wondered why they were taking so long, and he went to check it out. There saw them kissing, and Eric smiled. He was happy for his two co-workers. He cleared his throat, but instead of seeing them smile, he saw looks of horror on both of their faces. Natalia apologizes, and just like that, she leaves instead of going back to the group.
The interruption inevitably caused tension. Over the next several days, Horatio and Natalia tried to stay away from each other unless needed. Eric noticed the chilliness and decided to do something about it. After another one of their cases, Eric approached Natalia at the elevator. Eric asked, "Talia got a minute?"
Natalia turned around, said, "Yeah, what is up, Eric?"
Eric asked, "What is going with you and H?"
Natalia silent. It's not unlike for Eric to cut straight to the chase. Eric continued, "Look, I know what is causing the silent treatment. I am sorry if I spooked you two. I know that you have feelings for H. Everyone on the team can tell the chemistry you have together. It is especially thick when you two are in the same room."
Natalia breathed in and out to calm her heart rate, "Is that obvious? I just wanted to show that I care. While Nick's death was far more different from Marisol's, I am not trying to compare it; I know the feeling.\But with the cases where I got injured or needed help, it was hard."
Eric held up his hands, "Whoa there, Natalia, I'm not accusing you of anything. I have noticed how H has been since you became a member of our team. Although I know he is keeping to himself, he does seem a little relaxed when you are around."
Natalia felt like a weight was lifted off "I do have feelings for him and a while, but I stay especially after the case of Heather Chapman. Plus, I didn't want to seem like I am moving in on him and replacing your sister."
Eric said calmly, "I understand you feel like that. Marisol would have helped him loosen up if she had the chance. You know you and my sister are both determined and have a fighting spirit. You two would have been best friends."
Natalia felt the weight off her shoulder, "I am glad to hear that. I just thought when you saw us, you might…"
Eric finished, "Get angry that he moved on? I would have if it were not long after Marisol's death, but I knew you had Nick to deal with you so that wouldn't have happened."
Natalia nodded. Although she got Eric's side of the story and his reassurances, she wasn't too sure about it.
Hope he had it straightened out for Natalia, he had one person to talk to. Heading back towards the lab, he saw that Horatio was still in his office. It figures that he would work more now without anyone to go home to. But even if Eric could help prevent his boss from overworking to the point of exhaustion.
Eric knocked on the door, and when he got the okay, he went in and asked, "Yeah, H. Got a few minutes?"
Horatio responded, "What can I do for you, Eric?"
Eric said, "I just want to tell you that on behalf of my family, we are all appreciative that you take the time to visit Mari on her birthday."
Horatio asked tersely, "Is that it?"
Eric continued, "We have seen how you and Natalia are at the lab lately. Now I am sorry if I spooked you guys at the bar. I am saying that I want you to be happy, but my family would be glad to see you smiling again. I think that Natalia could do that for you. I know that Mari would want you to move on."
Horatio nodded. At least now, he knew he had Eric's and his family's approval but was still a little unsure.
What neither Horatio nor Natalia knew was they were about to get the push they needed.
That night after she got home, she just wanted to relax. After the cases they had recently back to back, she was bone tired. But she knew she also needed food. So, following a much-needed shower and fresh clothes, she set about to make something to eat. As she made the simple dinner and she thought about what Eric's assurances. She wanted to be with Horatio, but she still wasn't sure.
However, as she did so, it felt like the lights went out, but a different light came on. It was bright but calming in a way like an aura light. Once she finally adjusted to the sudden brightness, she couldn't believe she was seeing an angel. Now she hadn't been to church since she moved to Miami, but there was no disputing. Long and wavy dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a bright smile. She knew only another person had that same smile, Eric.
Natalia was finally able to speak, "You're Eric's sister, Marisol."
Marisol, with a radiant smile, said, "I am. I am sorry I didn't mean to startle you. I want you to know that I want you to be the one to show Horatio that life is worth continuing even while I am no longer physically with him. I am grateful to Horatio for showing life was worth living and not just fighting for. I am just sorry that I couldn't return the favor. You can and will do that, right?"
In total shock, Natalia sputtered, "I am…a…I guess so, but why me? I don't want to replace you and…"
Marisol smiled and said, "You won't. I promise."
Natalia nodded. She wanted to say something else but before she could the light disappeared and the lights turned on. That was a surreal experience. She now knew what to do. Food forgotten, she went to get ready. What she didn't know was she was going to get a surprise.
Angel Marisol had one more place to go. It was one place she went to many times when she was alive.
Following his talk, Eric, Horatio, remained in his office to finish his paperwork. He sighed. He wanted to go home but not to an empty house. However, he couldn't focus on the words on the page. The last few weeks had been a tough one, not case wise. It was his feelings toward Natalia. Ever since she had abruptly left that night at the restaurant, it seemed they were distant. What made it harder was they worked together at the lab. He understood that she was hesitant. Not that he blamed her, he was reminded of the fact that he was with Marisol. Now he felt terrible.
Suddenly everything at the lab came to a halt, and he saw a light shine through. He wondered what was going on, but when he saw the wavy brown hair and chocolate eyes plus the familiar walk, he knew who it was. Horatio instantly got up and went to greet Marisol. Horatio hugged her and said, "I miss you, Mari."
Relishing his hug, Marisol replied, "I miss you too, Horatio."
Parting Horatio sighed and said, "I screwed up."
Marisol asked, "With Natalia?"
Horatio placed a hand on her cheek, "Yes. I feel I moved in on her too fast, and like I am replacing you."
Caressing his cheek, Marisol replied lovingly, "You aren't replacing me. I promise."
Stopped to placed her hand on his heart, she continues, "I only wished that I could have given you the promise of the life the way you did with me."
Marisol continued, "I have seen Natalia from above. Her struggles and bad timing with men. She is strong, but she needs someone to show her love, and you are the one who can show love as you did for me."
A light bulb moment went off, Horatio said, "That is why you wanted me to go back."
Marisol nodded, "Yes."
A brief pause and Marisol added, "I know you can do it. I love you."
With that, she kissed Horatio and left.
Now both Horatio and Natalia knew what they needed to do. For Horatio, he filed away the paperwork knowing that can wait. His love for Natalia couldn't. After that, he quickly left to take care of the business of the heart.
Over at Natalia's, she had gotten the dishes in the dishwasher and went up to get ready. She changed into her special occasion, only lingerie, which included a strapless bra that made her bust look even fuller. She found her special tank, and with her skirt, Natalia was just about ready when she heard a knock on her door. She wondered who could that be?
She checked her appearance and went to the door. Looking in the peephole and saw who it was, she had to take deep breathes. She opened the door and met gazes with Horatio, and for a minute, they locked eyes.
Without wasting another second, she took his hand and pulled him in. Closing the door, she placed her hands on his face, drew him in, and planted a big wet kiss on him to which he reciprocated. They broke when they needed air in their lungs. Natalia led him to the couch. Once there, Natalia gave him a gentle push, and she sat down in his lap and landed another kiss on him, this time more searing than the first one. This one was more desire filled. They kissed and let their hands run through the other's hair. Horatio loved how Natalia's caramel locks felt silky through his fingers. Natalia loved how his hair felt in her fingers. They parted lips once more, they gazed into each other's eyes, and he said, "I'm sorry Natalia I didn't come after you. I wasn't sure you…"
Natalia placed a finger on H's mouth lips and said, "I am the one who should be sorry. I shut you out and gave you the silent treatment when we weren't working. I'm sorry."
Horatio brought his girl in for another kiss. After that, he said, "Why don't we let bygones are bygones, and we look forward instead?"
Natalia smiled, "I would love too handsome. I love you. Now, why don't we go somewhere that is more comfortable and explore our life together?"
With that, Natalia got up and pulled her boyfriend up. Tonight, she was going to make Horatio hers and led him to her room where they stayed for the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, up in Heaven, Marisol smiled. Her work was complete. Now she would be the family's guardian angels.
A/N 2: Thanks for reading the first chapter of "Love Desires". As always, reviews are appreciated!