A/n: Wow! Been a month! I was hoping for further material as the season progressed, but after five episodes after Rio I'm still feeling cheated, so I decided to end the story here. It is, however, a ridiculously long chapter. Longer than 3 & 4 COMBINED.
A/n 2: I really do love Ryan. Deep down inside. I just have a funny way of showing it.
Special Thanks To: Every dear heart who enjoys this and reviews, Focus Adolescent Services for providing me a nicely quotable chunk of information, ET for clarifying where in heck the switchblade stabbing occurred, and God for being such a great sport throughout.
Knife Fight Below The Corcovado
Down in South America, the other Caines had been going through plenty, too, though it took us a while to hear anything about them. Crossed-wire communications, and all. Different continents down there lead to different departments up here. It's complicated. You'll understand when you're dead. Anyway.
Preliminary reports indicated that Ray Jr. had decided to go into the family business, by which I mean drug trafficking. When I first heard about this, I figured he had come to the conclusion that since his dad got into all this trouble for pretending to do drugs, he might as well actually do drugs. No one ever bothered to correct Ray J's belief that his father was a totally clean undercover cop. You see what happens when you try to protect people from the truth, Horatio?
Of course he doesn't.
Later reports indicated that it was a little more complex than that, for example, that Ray Senior actually was back into the deep, dark heroin underworld. Because that IN NO WAY WAS THE REASON HIS LIFE GOT SCREWED UP IN THE FIRST PLACE. I'm tempted to ask for a time-out to go punch a brick wall, because I'm not sure I have the words to describe the incomprehensible idiocy of Raymond Caine. I mean, at what point did he think it would be okay to come within a hundred yards of the stuff?
Basically, it went like this: Raymond attempted to get a regular job, but after a couple months of slaving away for mediocre (read: average) wages, he threw it in for the far more lucrative business of selling drugs, telling himself that he'd just do it a few times a week for supplemental income. Denial is the first warning sign that you have a problem. Selling drugs moved into trying drugs, one time, just for show. Which turned into coming home with glassy eyes and an inability to eat.
For several months, Yelina conveniently ignored all of this and kept pasting a smile on her face and repeating things like "Horatio knew what he was doing…Ray's changed…husband back from dead miracle…" Didn't even ask how they got the money to buy the giant house considering she wasn't working (developed a nice flower-arranging hobby, though) and Ray ripped up the check from Horatio, muttering things about how he was "the head of this family" and "didn't need big brother's help anymore." Really, though. Their place in Miami wasn't that nice.
Eventually, this devolved into what many a desperate housewife does, complaining about her husband behind his back from noon til night, in a manner which eventually wore on her son's nerves. He was soon in constant screaming matches with his mother,who, it should be noted, refused to let her brother-in-law or anyone else who might be able to help them (coughtherapistcough) know what was going on. Really, the kid is a whole separate case on his own. Should I just quote from the booklet?(Title: "Sources of Teenage Stress") "Possible factors that may place emotional stress on your teenager include school demands and frustrations, changes in their bodies, problems with friends like how they're all drug mules?, unsafe living environment/neighborhood i.e. "Riaz Country", moving to a new community, changing schools, taking on too many activities, having too high expectations, and/or pressure to consume alcohol or drugs okay, leaving THAT alone."
For starters, the fact that he didn't speak Portuguese didn't give him much incentive to pay attention in school, so he spent his time coming up with complicated conspiracy theories involving his father's involvement in a secret and dangerous undercover mission that was going south. On the bright side, it turned out the kid wasn't actually doing drugs. On the other hand, he got into the manufacturing & transporting business under the delusion that he was the only one who could save his father's life (see stress factor "setting expectations too high").
I don't really understand, but then I don't really care, either. This can all be addressed later, by a more qualified person. You see, I think we have a nice thick file for the therapist already, don't we? I declare it finished.
Good timing, actually, because H and Delko are landing in Brazil right about now, and that means half my audience just up and left to make sure the former doesn't do anything stupid like trip down the airport stairs. Oh, and one of them is watching Delko's back too. I shudder to think of how the drama will explode when we get all four Caines together again in the same time and place…but I bet it's really entertaining. I'm going to send this and then see about tagging along.
Hey! Mary-Anne, wait up! Can I come with you?
TWO MONTHS LATER
No. No way, I refuse to come back and give you a progress report; I will NOT spend any more time leading Story Hour and I don't CARE how many demerits you agree to erase if I do…
Wait. All of them? You'll get rid of all fifty-seven I've racked up this week and let me start fresh?
Hot damn. pause You'll erase that one too, right? …if I start talking immediately and stop stalling?
So, the dynamic duo entered Brazil to make sure Riaz got all the jail time he deserved. Instead, the first thing they saw was him skipping out a free man, because the FBI had stricken most of the witness names out of the testimony because said witnesses were under federal protection, and the Brazilian government decided that without them, there was no case. Well, that might be a problem, right?
Wrong. Riaz wasn't a very good Noche member, as despite their no-drug-selling policy, in his Brazilian life he's a commanding drug lord. Where does one go if one wants to found out information on drugs and their lords? To see Raymond Caine, of course.
Ray wasn't home, but his wife was, so Horatio got a brief reunion with his sister-in-law, who had apparently been studying his wedding photos and picked out her white-dress wardrobe accordingly. Issues, issues!
Issues H really didn't have time for, in the interest of getting Riaz off the streets, so it was off to find Ray Sr. Unfortunately, he was sort of busy…dying. Violently beaten to a bloody pulp – quite literally – and strung upside down from the rafters. Until he opened his mouth, I actually felt quite sorry for him.
However, Ray used his dying breaths to wheeze that he was 'just trying to help his family.' To his credit, perhaps because by this point he had realized that pathological lying is a family trait or perhaps because it's hard to hate someone who already resembles a piece of tenderized meat, Horatio did not punch him in the face, but merely pledged to continue doing what he'd been doing since the first time Ray died. Take care of Ray Jr., that is. Classily, Ray made no mention of Yelina. Then he died in his brother's arms, just to wreak a little more havoc with Horatio's emotions.
So once again, he had the happy task of breaking news of his brother's death to the woman, whose first reaction was "I don't believe you." Ordinarily, that refusal to accept reality would be an issue worth discussing, but under the circumstances, it's understandable.
Also understandable is Horatio's worry that Mr. Riaz might be after his nephew next, so there was a race to find him – achieved without much trouble. Unfortunately, Ray was still operating under his "Must cooperate with Riaz/find Dad/NO ONE CAN HELP ME!" plan of action, and so despite the angry look and the shouting, Ray Jr. ultimately opted to bite his thumb at his uncle and stalk off with his friendly local neighborhood drug lord.
Shortly thereafter, H discovered that his nephew had been acting as a drug mule. Precisely how he thought muleing drugs was going to help his father remains unclear, but keep in mind this is a 14-year-old boy. They don't usually have the clearest rationale even under normal circumstances. And this is a troubled 14-year-old boy who's already attended his father's funeral, watched his mother hit on his uncle and vice versa, watched his mother's boyfriend actually hit her (in the literal sense of the word, although the figurative slang sense might explain a lot), gone through bone-marrow transplantation to help a half-sister he didn't know he had, had his father inexplicably return, and then been uprooted from the world he knew and sent to a new secret life in another country. Sorry for the digression. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but the levels of screwed-up-ness in this family are getting pretty fascinating.
Meanwhile, Delko went hunting for Riaz on his own, winding up on a helicopter landing pad beneath the Corcovado (known among non-native laymen as Jesus Hill, and I probably shouldn't have said that), to challenge him to a duel. Neglected to bring any sort of weapon, though; not even his whacking stick. Jane, that's not a double entendre, so don't give me the "I'm going to report you" eyebrow. Now, I have a lot of faith in Delko's revenge-fueled Fists of Rage, but not that much.
There's probably some kind of complicated international legal code to explain how H managed to be parted from his gun for so long; I'm not sure exactly what, but neither he nor Eric carried guns the whole time they were in the country. Maybe they just didn't want to tempt themselves in case they cornered Riaz. They weren't particularly concerned with following the law back in Miami; I wouldn't have thought a little thing like lacking a gun permit would stop them in Brazil, but you never know.
Oddly, Antonio wasn't carrying a gun either, but that was mostly due to his confidence in his ambidextrousness coupled with his skill in the ancient art of knife fighting. Unfortunately for him, he was too intensely focused on killing Eric to notice Horatio sneaking up behind him, grabbing the discarded spare knife, and holding it to his throat. I'm going through this part in great detail, because I think it explains a lot.
Eric broke free and got out of the way, resulting in an intense staring contest between H & Riaz, in which Horatio pretended to consider the option of letting him live in exchange for information about where Ray Jr was, an offer no one actually believed. After three seconds of taking his last opportunity to mock and taunt, Antonio launched himself, knife-in-hand, at H. Who promptly impaled him on the little pointy knife of his own.
Riaz looks stunned.
Horatio stares blankly.
That noise you heard was the sound of his hundred-strong contingency of guardian angels falling over in shock.
It was at this point that Horatio decided it would be a good time to see that therapist everyone around him plus several unidentifiable voices in his head had been urging him to see for the past five years. Violently shanking someone will have that effect on you, in a way that firing a bullet, even at point-blank range, apparently won't. The hundred-foot statue of Christ glaring down at him may have had something to do with it, too.
Well, first there was a quick pit stop to save Ray's life, shoot one more random drug lord, and try to convince Yelina to stay in Miami. Her agreement was the thing that finally convinced him he was crazy, since something seemed to be going right in his life, and he scheduled an appointment with a psychologist right away.
Yelina did not schedule a similar appointment for her son, nor did Horatio indicate that it might be a good idea, considering that a few hours beforehand, Ray was 100 ready to kill someone, even before he found out that his dad had been killed again. That kind of collected rage will not manifest itself well without treatment, mark my words.
For the old boss, however, it seems to have been going well. He only brings up Marisol once a week now, instead of twice a day, and he's shown a marked improvement in his interpersonal behavior and attitudes. They worked on lots of issues, namely being civil towards other government workers. Others include telling the truth more often and keeping his itchy trigger finger down once in a while. They set this up through a series of assignments.
First assignment: forgive Rick Stetler and call a truce. Took him five sessions to accept that, but he eventually came around. (Though sadly, Stetler still thinks Horatio's going to get him at some point, and so has added "inexplicable mood swings – possibly being blackmailed?" to the IAB file he works on every spare minute)
Second assignment: Begin referring to Ryan and Calleigh by their first names. Also, begin speaking to Natalia at all. It was really bad form the way he spent several weeks pretending the newest member of his team didn't exist.
Other assignments were related to things such as convincing him that he cannot attend every murder victim's funeral in the greater Miami-Dade area. And that every damsel in distress does not need his personal attention. So now, in addition to the crime-scene-processing/scientific duties he usually passes off on other people, he has delegated many of his empathizing duties to Calleigh and his indignantly-standing-up-for-the-downtrodden duties to Ryan. He still can't always help himself when it comes to mistreated children and helpless women, but he's trying to occasionally focus on something other than the job, and I wish him well in the future.
And you - Katie - not one word out of you! I don't want to know the particulars of this "exploding SUV" you're talking about over there, because I am sure it has something to do with Horatio, and that would detract from my "H is fine so I don't have to talk about him any more" plans. So be quiet. Though I do hope someone reminds H that sisters of employees do not good dates make. Delko, tell Natalia to keep her sister away from CSI if she wants her to live. Delko! Are you listening?!
Oh, shoot. I forgot; HIS psychologist already told him to ignore the voices in his head - that no matter how much they sometimes sounded like Speed, they were only figments of his imagination trying to bring me back. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Besides, there's still Ryan…man, that kid is easy to mess with. For a while, I even got him to believe he was cursed. In retrospect, Ryan probably needs anger-management classes, but I refuse to detail the reasons why, because I am done talking and I've earned some well-deserved rest. Quit looking at me like that, Sophie. Speedle's Story Sessions are officially CLOSED.