I love Horatio and Kyle together, and this little fluffy piece has been floating in my head for some time. Enjoy!
Nothing much in the way of spoilers, unless you haven't seen season six yet.
For now it's just a two-shot, unless people are interested in more. This chapter doesn't do too much, but if I expand it I'll be bringing in lots of characters—Julia, Yelina, and definitely Ray Jr, and lots others.
Horatio was a little bit surprised when the phone rang at 10:30 pm on a Sunday. Horatio rarely received phone calls at home—partly because he was almost never home to get them, but mostly because he had few relationships where late night phone calls would be appropriate.
It was for this reason that he deemed that the caller had to be Yelina, Ray Jr., or….
"Dad." The voice was feeble; it had lost its usual strength and confidence.
"What's going on?" Horatio asked with a hint of concern.
There was a pause on the phone. Clearly Kyle didn't really want to make this phone call. "I'm sick." He finally said. "I've got a fever and I can barely get off the couch."
The father in Horatio was instantly alarmed. But the cool, collected, logical Horatio quickly shushed the fear aside. While Kyle had occasionally reached out to Horatio, the two didn't have a terribly close relationship. In fact, Horatio was fairly sure that this was the first time Kyle had ever called him. The fact that Kyle had called him about this meant that it was serious. Kyle was willing to admit that he needed help.
Horatio already guessed what was going on, but he didn't want to push Kyle away by assuming. He decided to be subtle. "Did your mother give you anything for the fever?"
A small silence ensued. "She…doesn't know I'm sick."
"Why would that be?" Horatio asked.
He could hear a sigh on the other end of the line. "She's away for business, okay? I got sick after she left."
Horatio's heart sank. Julia was leaving Kyle alone for days at a time? Kyle may be a young adult, but someone should at least know that he's alone.
"I'm coming over. Just hang in there."
It was not a long drive to the Winston's residence, although they lived in a much glossier part of town. Horatio couldn't help his heart from beating rather rapidly as he drove. It was an unusual feeling for him. Worrying about a child—his child—was not like worrying about others. The fear came from some part of him that he didn't even know existed.
The front door was unlocked when Horatio tried it. He had been there before, and knew that Kyle was probably in the den. He was right. Kyle was curled up in the small room on a couch facing a TV that had been turned way down. His cheeks were flushed and small licks of hair stuck to his sweating forehead. Despite this, his body was shaking with the chills.
Other than babysitting Ray Jr. as baby, Horatio didn't really have any experience with children. Despite this, his paternal instincts kicked in the minute he saw his boy lying sick on the couch. He sat on the coffee table next to Kyle, and put a few fingers against his cheek. He was burning up.
"Thanks for coming, Dad," Kyle mumbled, half appreciative, half embarrassed.
"When did your mother leave?" Horatio asked him.
"And you've been sick since then?"
"Since Friday night."
Horatio sighed. "Son, I wish you had called me earlier. You shouldn't be here alone when you're sick."
Kyle seemed to be following Horatio's train of thought. "Mom had no way of knowing I was going to get sick." It was said with what little defensiveness Kyle could muster.
"But you called her, right?" Horatio asked, almost afraid to know the answer.
Once again, Kyle looked embarrassed. "I can't. She's with really important clients in the Keys. She shut off her personal phone."
Horatio looked to the ground. "So you have no way of contacting her?"
Kyle didn't answer.
Horatio decided to let it rest for now. He got up and found some paper towels which he ran under cold water. He wrung them out, then returned to Kyle's side, handing him the cool clothes.
"Where's your medicine cabinet?"
"Down the west hallway, second door on the right, cabinet above the sink." Kyle said, settling back into the couch.
Horatio rose, taking note of the interior of the house as he walked. The kitchen was a mess—Kyle clearly had eaten take out every night and not bothered to clean anything up. His clothes and schoolbooks were lying in a heap on the floor. Horatio sighed to himself. This boy needed some looking after.
Horatio returned to Kyle after a minute carrying a glass of water and some Advil. The boy took them and downed them without a word.
"Try to get some rest," Horatio said. He glanced at the TV. "Do you want that off?"
"No, it helps me sleep."
Horatio was about to relocate to a chair on the side of the den when he heard Kyle's now frail tone. "Dad."
Horatio looked down at him. His blue eyes were big and childish. He was curled underneath a blanket, and was looking at his father with an almost fearful look.
"Can you just stay a minute?"
"I'm not about to leave, Kyle."
"No, I mean…can you stay right there? There's something I wanted to ask you about."
Horatio sat back down. "What is it, son?"
"I was just wondering…what were your parents like?"
A/N: Please review, it means so much!