Here's another AU from the gal herself, but this time, I'm going to try and not make it an Eric/Ryan thing (yes, the hardy boys wave is still on going) which is why this one shot book is to give me some leniency in the pairings I write about. After all, I ship Eric with the most people.

Stan headcanon bi!Eric. And that's on blue and pink.

This is an Eric/Valera oneshot, but it's centred as a team-centric moment.

friendly competition

The CSIs were being put to the ultimate test, participating in the test of agility, strength and skill in a course set up by the Captain, IAB and a few of the lieutenants. They wanted to give them a chance to show off their physical skills since most of them don't really get the chance. Collecting, processing and piecing together evidence in cases was a tough job, but the physicality never did show.

It's why the detectives and higher ranking personnel wanted to see how well the teams could co-operate in teams of three. Each member would participate in one part of the race, whether it be shooting, running or swimming. There was no official reasoning, however, it would be a big pride thing too.

Most people believed Horatio had the strongest team. Though that could only be proven if they managed to top all the challenges. Having six CSIs, all with different strengths, weaknesses and level of ability. Jesse and Ryan knew what this would consist of as former patrol officers. But the others weren't too sure.

They thought that choosing the three best CSIs would be appropriate. That's what they had, until the Chief decided that he wanted Horatio's team split into two teams of three. He chose them, insisting that it would be interesting to see the difference between the diver/drug I.D. expert, the firearms expert and the Chemistry/Genetics expert vs the DNA expert, Fingerprints expert and Art identification/QD based technician.

Horatio wasn't sure what to think. Calleigh, Eric and Ryan vs Natalia, Jesse and Walter. It was quite the challenge. His older team and the newer additions. Slightly cruel to divide them on physicality, but it's not like they could avoid it. Competitive nature ran within every department.

Each team had their turn to train.

Calleigh, Eric and Ryan met at the community running track. They'd only just received the update that the color they'd be sporting was blue. Since it was unknown what each requirement would include, they agreed it would be best to try it out from all angles. All three CSIs showed up wearing a navy tank top and matching black tracksuit bottoms. They wanted to win, honestly.

Ryan had never mentioned his track running record in high school. Mainly because he didn't like talking about himself, or his past hobbies. It's how he maintained such a lean and well toned figure. His constant fitness routine that he learned from his father, a former marine turned devoted member of the FBI. Getting through training in Quantico took skill. Being more of a shadowed character throughout high school, Wolfe preferred to use running as an outlet for his problems.

It worked most of the time.

"We're gonna be running five kilometres for today, but will move onto hurdles soon enough." Ryan said, gesturing the track to his teammates.

They both stared at him cluelessly. "At least he didn't say miles."

Jesse, Natalia and Walter gathered by the beachside. As their color would be yellow, it meant that they'd have to adjust to wearing mainly yellow for these training sessions. Cardoza thought that a short run along the beach would be nice before the hardcore training came in. As a long-term CSI, Jesse wanted to prove that he wasn't washed out and had what it took to fulfill his position on Lt. Caine's team once again.

Natalia liked fitness. Pilates, yoga, dancing.. she wasn't opposed to any of it. But swimming wasn't in her list of fortées. The Latina could swim perfectly fine, however, it wasn't something she particularly put a lot of effort into because she enjoyed it. Going to the pool with Eric on occasion were the only times she truly had passion for it.

Walter was definitely more of a basketball guy than a runner, though he didn't think he was the worst one out there. The chance of becoming a cop without some kind of fitness ability wasn't too high.

"A jog on the beach? That's training?"

"Well it was that or I teach you how to surf, and I don't think it's the right time when we're supposed to be preparing for a head-to-head battle against the other teams."

The day of the mini competition, Eric was carrying the stuff from Ryan's car to his Hummer. Wolfe was organizing their clothes, Calleigh had their identification in her purse while he got the rest of the things that they'd stored at the youngest CSI's condo. Since he had the biggest pantry, it was easier to use his place.

Valera originally planned to go with Michael to watch "the test" and was going to meet him in the parking lot. She didn't feel like having Eric compete like this since she would be threatened if his pride went up with a win. As selfish as it sounded, she liked his vulnerability and the angst taken out in his sexual encounters.

She quickly made a detour to see him as he shut the trunk of Wolfe's car and locked it up. If the DNA analyst hadn't have known that Eric and Ryan were on good terms, the redhead would've assumed he was getting back at Wolfe again.

"Hey Eric!" She exclaimed, following him to the Hummer.

"Hi. What's up?" He threw the car keys in his hand to Ryan, who went to put them in his jacket. Valera grinned. She could see the excitement in his eyes. "Just saying good luck to my boyfriend."

Delko weakly chuckled. A honk of the horn made him slam the trunk closed, losing the train of thought he had going. "Hurry up, Delko! We're gonna be late otherwise!"

"I better go." He said, his hands finding her waist as he connected their lips in a cheeky kiss. She returned the intimate embrace with her hands cupping his face. They stood there for a good two minutes, making the most of their last kiss before the ran. For all they knew, Ryan and Calleigh could be using that time to have quick make-up sex after their explosive disagreement yesterday.

"Eric!" A southern drawl and thick Boston accent shouted.

They pulled away, Valera rolling her eyes. "See you later, Casanova."

Eric, though confused by the sudden calling, waved to the DNA analyst and hopped into the Hummer. He swiftly changed from his collective thinking to his competition thinking mode real quick. Ever since watching High School Musical with his younger cousins, that one line stayed stuck in his head.

Get your head in the game.

"Everything okay with Valeric?" Calleigh smirked.

"Did you not see them making out?" Ryan remarked jokingly, pulling a sharp reverse turn out of the parking space.

"I did."

He simply shook his head, silently laughing to himself at his teammates. They were so pathetic together. Ryan brought out a goofy side of Calleigh that Eric didn't even know she had outside work. In some aspect, it was a good thing. A light-hearted conversation before a serious battle always helped ease the tension. Being pitted against the rest of their team didn't make anything any easier.