A/N: This is a draft from my Gmail drafts that just sat there for ages. Originally it had a different plot, but I decided to change it slightly.
He sat down at his desk, staring at the ring in the palm of his hand. One shot was all he has to hope this goes to plan. A part of him had been extremely reluctant to give into his inner feelings for a certain person. He couldn't risk the possibility of losing a friend through a feeling he was sure that he'd be able to control.
Ryan and Calleigh had moved out of the shared office and been given their own one as the longest remaining members of Horatio's team. Jesse, Natalia and Walter resided in the shared one now. They'd considered letting Jesse in, but agreed that there was a small chance he'd accept the offer. So it was just theirs.
But Calleigh didn't appear very often. Which was uncommon for someone of her character, although, he'd noticed a difference after her and Eric had started sneaking around. It had pained him to know that every night they had to themselves was just a stand alone exception.
Christmas felt like a whole different range of events though.
Eric had spent Christmas with Natalia in Puerto Rico. He'd not told anyone but they were in fact closer than most people assumed. His parents were good friends with her parents, henceforth the decision to spend a joyful time together every year.
Calleigh wasn't sure what to make of it when it came down to whether she and Eric would evolve their relationship so close into what he and Natalia had as close friends. She'd been unable to see it going anywhere either. Dating your colleague was against protocol, but even more so was sneaking around and being public labelled as a couple.
That's how she'd ended up turning to Ryan. He told her that he was going to New Orleans for Christmas as it was where he was meeting his parents. Louisiana was closer than Washington D.C. was - which was the reason for not going to Boston or him going to Washington.
He had soon realized that he was staying near her parents' house (in New Orleans) and decided that the only thing he could do was cheer her up. So he invited her along, although he didn't mention where they were going or how much it cost.
But when they got to New Orleans, Calleigh realized that he'd done this for her. Not because he felt compelled to.. because he wanted to. There wasn't a need for him to waste his income on her, and yet, he'd done it anyway. All because she was lonely.
It was also where he got the ring.
Kenwall "Duke" Duquesne and Maggie (Calleigh's mom) had agreed that they were sure who Calleigh would one day go back to. It wasn't Eric. They weren't going anywhere. Not Jake. That was over a long time ago. And her longest relationship (with a guy called Josh) had been fun whilst it lasted, though he was now married himself. That's how Maggie knew.. even in full circle.. Ryan would be the one person that would be there until he was physically unable to.
Now, three months on, Wolfe sat there with the small engagement ring in his hand. It was exactly Calleigh's style. But he still wasn't sure what he was doing.
Eric and Calleigh's whirlwind romance had come to an awkward ending, with the agreement that they weren't meant to be together. Delko had recently left CSI which had pushed Ryan and Calleigh to an immediate closeness that had come rushingly.
Life was too short. He was almost 30 years old, she was 36 going on 37, and they were running out of time to really get a life. Ryan had given it some thought. All that time they'd spent together.. He had reached a point in his life where he was ready to devote himself to one woman.
Marrying her was something he had taken into mass consideration. What kind of wedding they'd have, who would be there and how the relationship would be. Duke had been the one to suggest a friendship style marriage because it would make not only them happy, but Calleigh too. It was clear to see that her love for Ryan wouldn't ever be compared to the way she felt about anyone else.
He decided that they should just elope. Fly to Vegas, book a hotel room for the weekend and spend enough time to be back like nothing happened. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. It was a plan and a half. No plan was complete without the other half, which is his case was Ms. Calleigh Duquesne.
Getting married would mean a lot of things though. They'd have to consider all the affects, which is why Ryan had been looking for jobs past the Dade County line. Marriage came with compromise. He was willing to leave CSI if it meant that they could have a future together. But it wouldn't be like Eric leaving and them sneaking around outside work, they'd be properly finding their feet together.
She'd mentioned it. If they were to ever marry, they'd probably not stay in Miami. He understood her reasons why.
"What is that? It's burning my eyes." Dr Loman said, covering his eyes.
Ryan closed his palm. The sunlight somehow reflected off the ring in such a way it seemed lethal. Interesting. "Sorry. What can I do for you, Tom?"
"I think you should consider what this would mean, and then think about what others jobs you'd be looking into if you did leave."
The younger man cocked an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"Dr Woods told me you'd been thinking about.. you know.. committing?"
He leaned back in his chair and groaned. If more people knew, then it wouldn't be as much as a reveal. But it was their future. And soon enough, if she said yes, then people would know. It's not like he was incapable of commitment. Ryan wanted to have a family of his own someday.. but settling down with the wrong woman just wouldn't be right to bear.
"Mhm.. I'm thinking about it."
Tom nodded knowingly. "Have you ever dated her?"
"Yeah, for two years. On and off.. because of work."
For the M.E., he wasn't too bothered about why Ryan wanted to get married so impulsively. He and Calleigh had known each other for a while. They obviously had a reoccurring thing that neither could get over. If the love was true, then he would know. "Do you want to marry her for security? Satisfaction? Gains?"
"I adore her." Ryan interrupted. "It's never been about how amazingly beautiful she is, or for possession. I just don't want to spend the rest of my life knowing that I had the chance and I was too afraid to take it. That already happened once.."
Adore. The word that said it all. He wasn't immediately defending how much he loved her, but the way he did.
"Ask her then. If you're sure this is what you want."
"Well I couldn't just ask her to marry me after knowing her for a year." He said sarcastically, in a rather upbeat attitude, as he headed towards the door.
Tom smiled, hoping that he'd done what Alexx had wanted him to do.
Later on — Ryan arrived back at his condo, having clocked out of work at a shocking 7pm. It's the earliest he'd ever been back from a double shift. He was planning on taking the day off the day after to regenerate that frazzled mind of his, then going to see Calleigh since it was her week holiday that started the day following.
'As if we'd be able to fly to Vegas in-between days.' He mused, throwing his bag onto the chair and sighing to himself.
Wolfe unbuttoned his dress shirt and picked up the pile of mail he'd collected before coming inside. Through the bills, taxes and adverts - he saw a letter addressed to him with no return address. Being the perfectionist he was, that came across as a personal invite to look into it first. Ryan carefully opened up the envelope.
As soon as he did, a ring fell out along with a small piece of paper and a Polaroid.
"'Ryan, it's me. Like what you see?'" He read aloud.
Curious, Ryan picked up the fallen items and his eyes were as wide as saucers when he saw it. It was a little explicit.. but nothing less than what he would expect of an interesting proposal. But he couldn't of counted on a petit shadowed figure creeping up behind him. She grabbed the ring with a smile.
He spun around right when he heard footsteps. It'd be a little strange if that person saw the photo of the southerner in a skimpy lace dress. Though his defensive mode came to a hold when he saw who it was. "Is it too much?"
He never thought she would be able to do what he did. Sneak up on her and scare the living daylights out of the day of sunshine. Yet she did it with ease. Ryan could feel his heart racing, but not out of fear. Shock for one. Amazement the next.
"You look beautiful in anything. What's with the ring though?"
"This is a two-way thing, Ry."
'Oh, crap. The ring.' He nodded, though half of his mind was naturally distracted by the lace patterns on the lingerie she was wearing. Calleigh laughed and shook her head. "Would you prefer to have this conversation in bed, naked and sweaty?"
She rolled her eyes. "Okay, well you're overdressed for one."
He pulled her close, eyes glued to her sea green ones. Both reflective of love, care and a glint of lust. Calleigh could feel his heat press against the coldness of her body. Ryan pressed a light kiss on her forehead as she looked down at the ground. This would really be happening. She would accept his hand in marriage, and then they'd find themselves moving on.. together.
It was so much more than a friendship based marriage. Calleigh didn't care that he'd made some mistakes, or that he wasn't her usual type.. his unique love is what made their relationship different. He gave her space, but knew when she wanted company. Never rushed her into anything. Always put her happiness before his. Even if it cost him.
"I can't believe you got me an engagement ring. I feel so special." Ryan whispered playfully, lifting her up as they reached the bedroom.
"Maybe I really do want to marry the right guy."
They shared a quick kiss, smiling widely when they barely pulled away. "Am I the right guy?"
"I think so. And even if you aren't the perfect one, I still love you more."
The former patrol officer reached into his pocket and took out the ring. He showed it to Calleigh, who looked amazed by it. She'd recognized it as her family's ring. Passed down from generation to generation. It was her turn at last. She put forward her hand and he slid the ring onto her ring finger. They were officially engaged. Even without the right words. "Happy engagement."
"Happy engagement to you too, silly."