"This is just a bit of silliness, really." – Finding Neverland

And so it is. Inspired entirely by a one-line post on the message boards of Talk CSI, I thought that as we're heading into a new season which promises unprecedented levels of drama, now would be a good time to catch up with and take stock of the pre-existing levels of drama surrounding Horatio & family, which are already off the charts. (erm, again. In a different way than I usually do) I was going to try to summarize it in a single paragraph to respond to the post, but I kept thinking of more and more things to add to it, until it became this slightly twisted story. Not much new information here, but plenty of commentary. I have taken only moderate pains to stay in character. RS

Disclaimer: Are you kidding? I would never have the courage to imagine one character could suffer this much in four years. That's all Ann Donahue's doing, her and her team of writers under the intimidating shadow of Alliance Atlantis Productions & CBS. I don't own anything, not even the idea of all guardian angels being young, cute and female.

Call a Therapist, STAT

"You know what the whole Caine family needs? Therapy. Desperately."

Hey, Tim Speedle here. Ordinarily, after death, souls go straight to Heaven and stay there, but I seem to have this giant contingency of "fans" that won't let me go, so I'm here telling yet another story. And it all started because I was walking by the wrong place at the wrong time, and Mary-Anne's voice carries.

Now, ordinarily I try not to eavesdrop on the guardian angels, because I am very respectful of others' privacy. That, and they'll report you in a heartbeat. You may not be aware that Heaven operates on the demerit system, but it does, and the consequences are a step beyond detention. Since sarcasm counts as an infraction too, I generally make every attempt to fly under the radar.

But when I overhear them mention my old boss, I have to sit up and take notice.

True, there are several thousand people on earth who answer to the surname Caine, so you might not think I had any reason to jump to that conclusion…but of all those people, none of them are quite as legendary around here as Horatio for "number of times one life has been saved from certain death by angelic intervention." And of course, I had to open my big mouth and ask if they were talking about who I thought they were (yes) and exactly what they meant (cacophonous explosion of complaints). Apparently, it's wearing on the girls, constantly saving these peoples' lives from either homicidal threat or thoughts of suicide, and they think that instead of racing after them day and night, a lot of Horatio's, Yelina's, and the Raymonds' problems could be solved with a little therapy.

However, before a therapist can start to correct the problems, he needs to know how they got to this point. That's where I come in, apparently. Somehow, in a way I haven't quite worked out, I've been appointed as the sole voice to summarize their history. I tried to point out that I haven't been tracking the last two years in any great detail, and even before that I didn't exactly hear all about H's personal life, but the girls would have none of it. They insist that since I actually worked with him for a few years, I have unique perspective, and they were quite helpful about providing their own reports to fill in the rest of the details…so I agreed.

You don't refuse Mary-Anne.

You just don't.

And I have to admit that it's been a real eye-opener. My former boss was not nearly as infallible as he had us believe. By the same token, his brother sounds like such a screw-up that I have difficulty understanding why H bent over backwards defending him. Lastly, in light of the facts about both of them, I don't think I gave Yelina nearly enough credit for restraining herself from ever slapping either one. As far as I know, anyway.

Ah. One of the other angels in charge, who would like to remain anonymous, is giving me the "move along" signal, or in other words, "Enough background, quit procrastinating and start the story already." So without further ado, allow me to begin with the Ballad of Raymond. I never actually met the guy, but I'm tempted to hate him just on principle.

In a nutshell: despite being begged not to work narcotics, Ray did! Got in deep and dirty, too. Doing drugs, mostly methamphetamines. Cheated on his wife with one of the girls in the drug ring; even fathered an illegitimate daughter, although to be fair he didn't know about that last part. Finally, the Feds caught him dirty on tape. He got an ultimatum – work for them, or go to jail. He chose door #1 and all that it entailed - mostly faking his own death, leaving behind a wife and young (legitimate) son.

You know, no matter how many times I hear this story, even though I was neither a husband nor a father, I don't quite understand how a life on the lam and never seeing his family again was preferable to jail time. True, his reputation would be in shambles, but it kind of ended up that way anyway, and at least with jail there are visitation rights. The only other explanation I have is that Ray was just a yellow-bellied coward. And…Serena, why are you whispering? Oh, I am not going to regret saying that next week. Who's telling this story, anyway?

Fast-forward to not-quite-two-years later, where Yelina suddenly had eyes for her dead husband's brother.

Who unfortunately had a serious Catholic complex, and the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) sense of familial honor in the history of the world, so he couldn't let himself be attracted to her, because she was still his brother's wife. Officially. Unofficially, they had shared meals and hung out like totally innocent siblings-in-law, except for the constant sad looks of longing, tentative touches, and other things widely referred to as "UST." Clearly, neither the lieutenant nor the detective has ever watched X-Files.

(Oh, and did I mention how they perfected the art of talking in metaphors? Everybody noticed that. It was like a nervous tic with those two.)

They behaved in this increasingly annoying manner – seriously, Delko and I had a drinking game based on it – for exactly one year, and then Horatio found out about Ray's illegitimate child with Suzie Keaton, Madison. Madison had red hair "and looked just like him." Remember that; it will be important in a second.

In the meantime, he decided there was really no need to tell Yelina about that; he would just distract her with news that he put his brother's killer in jail, while on the side he kept busy supporting his niece and her mother, visiting them, finding them an apartment, that sort of thing.

That worked out nicely for a couple months, until niece and brother's former-mistress showed up at a crime scene we were working, a sight which provided Delko and Calleigh and I with break-room gossip for months. Well, it's not like H tells us anything. Sorry. Anyway, the first person Suzie talked to was Yelina, asking her to pass on the message to H that they could "apartment-hunt another day." The next line I'm giving over to Shari, because her imitation is better than anything I could come up with.

"Yelina: OMGWTFYOUHAVEASECRETDAUGHTER! That's it, I'm going out with your arch-rival, even though he leers."

So although this would be a really good time to get back at Ray, Horatio, for reasons to be determined by the therapist, decided it would somehow hurt her less if didn't tell her about her husband's cheating. Again…why? Raymond already had several strikes against him; all this did was establish that Yelina couldn't trust her brother-in-law any more than her husband, leaving her with no one to turn to. Ooh, I like this line in Rosalind's writing – "But in the end, fraternal loyalty supercedes matters of the heart, and he sacrificed his own happiness to put his brother's memory first." See, that's an extremely poetic way of putting it. My version included a word that can be represented by dollar signs and an ampersand, but as previously mentioned…demerits. Okay, all right, this story isn't about me. I heard you the first time. No, come on, I do not need a time-out to discuss appropriate vs. inappropriate breaks in narrative flow…

And by that, of course, I mean my throat suddenly feels a little dry, so I'm going to go get a drink of water. Be right back.