Eric watched Ryan as they all had drinks after the horrendous case of mutilated children.
It was not often that Ryan had drinks with the rest of the CSI's, but with Speed there with them, he knew that would more than likely be changing. None of them could afford to get as trashed as he, Speed, and Ryan had last Friday night, but the company helped push the atrocities they had seen out of their minds.
Still, his knowledge of Ryan now let him notice his slight discomfort in being around everyone longer than he had to.
Ryan shifted in his seat, he couldn't help but be slightly uncomfortable sitting in the bar as the others chatted amongst themselves.
Speed kept trying to drag him into the conversations but it was hard to contribute anything to them when the others knew nothing about his life or his family.
They all knew a lot about each others, or at least the basics, but he was the mystery.
Calleigh, noticing his discomfort as well, decided to probe Ryan with questions to decrease the mystery surrounding their youngest and often most volatile member.
Ryan swallowed hard when he noticed she was staring at him with a contemplative look in her eye, there were many things he was still not ready to let anyone else know about.
Having Speed reveal almost all the gritty details to Eric the Friday before was horrendous enough, Ryan didn't think he would be able to cope with the rest knowing when he was already as susceptible as he was to his mental sanctuary and prison.
"You and Speed seem awfully comfortable around each other, Ryan. Have you known Speed long?"
Ryan shifted his eyes to the far wall behind Calleigh, a frown pulling at his lips as he tried to figure out what to say.
He needn't have worried though, because Eric—surprisingly—saved him from answering.
"Speed met his older brother at NYU, apparently they've known each other for years."
Horatio's eyebrows lifted as he stared at the two mentioned. He hadn't known that, he'd known that Speed had come here after a friend's tragic death, but he didn't know about much else about his time before the lab.
Calleigh's mouth had dropped in shock, she hadn't stopped to think they had known each other that long, she had figured that they had met after Ryan got the job and he might have stopped him to ask for pointers.
"Really? Why didn't either of you say anything?"
Ryan Just shrugged at Calleigh's question, "It wasn't like it was important. Besides . . . I've never been comfortable with allowing other people knowing about my family and I."
"Oh, well what's your older brother's name and what does he do?"
Ryan shifted again, catching Speeds attention as he noticed his brother-in-law's stiff shoulders and eyes that kept moving to first his watch then the door and back, realizing that Ryan was about to flee, he answered for him.
"His name is Damien, he's a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Since I didn't want to go home to my family over breaks and was still getting my head back together, he dragged me home to his. The Wolfe's are rather, well eclectic, but they're good for people who've lost a lot. Mama Ro is willing to take anyone one in, I wasn't the first person she's done it too, she got to Ryan's pseudo-brother Charlie first, and I doubt I'll be the last with them. They are the one's that introduced me to Adina."
Calleigh blinked she hadn't expected that, sure Speed had been with Adina for as long as she'd known him, but she hadn't ever asked how they'd met.
Just before she went to ask that exactly, Horatio cut in.
"So you know Ms. Adina, too, Ryan? How did you meet her?"
Ryan smiled slightly and relaxed as he thought of the first time he met Adina—it'd been a rather . . . interesting experience, especially since he was still mostly mute.
Speed and Eric watched as his eyes gained a slight glaze as if he was looking at something far off, a small smile twisting at his mouth before it turned down slightly in sadness.
"Our meeting wasn't exactly the most joyous of times, H, it never is when you meet someone after they've just lost both of their parents. Even so, she was, well, like a hummingbird on too much sugar; she wouldn't shut up or hold still for five minutes after she placed in Mama Ro's house. Girl was nervous and couldn't hold her tongue, started chattering to anyone quiet enough for her to start into and unfortunately I was still mute, then. I almost freaked out the first time I met her but when I just didn't say anything back she started to talk slower and softer until she stopped and then she just started to cry and leaned on me and I had no idea what to do, but it worked."
Calleigh's eyes were wide and her mouth was open slightly as she processed what Ryan had said. They'd all known that Adina had no blood relatives, but she said she'd made her own family, and Ryan saying that he'd been there just after they had been killed and they had maintained a relationship of some sort that Ryan and his brother introduced her to speed was just . . . it was not what she expected and only led her to more questions.
Horatio looked at his youngest charge, worried slightly at the history he was learning. He'd investigated Adina's Mama Ro shortly after Speed had come onto the force, wanting to make sure the woman was what Adina had said and hadn't given her cause for grief.
He'd learned their last names in the process and given the information he had now was causing him to make some connections that he knew Calleigh didn't have the information to make.
Their Ryan had been in foster care.
He had been in foster care before Adina and had been mute for some unknown reason.
Horatio pushed his troubles to the back of his mind as Ryan continued.
"After a while she was one of the people who got me to start talking, along with Mama Ro. She connected with me in a way no one else could've, knew how I though better than anyone else—well besides Charlie—it was the catalyst that brought us all together."
Calleigh's voice was soft; quiet in a way that she had to ask the question, but didn't really want the answer.
"Brought who together, Ryan? Why were you at Mama Ro's house?"
Ryan froze, they could all see it. His face was blank, his posture stiff, and the grip he had on his beer white knuckled.
He still didn't relax, even when Speed answered for him.
"It's what brought Damien, Angelica, Ryan, and Adina together, Cal. He was living with her, too."
Ryan grunted as he clenched his eyes shut, memories that had been brought to the surface because of his and Eric's heart to heart Friday night floated through his mind's eye. Horatio and Calleigh just watched him until he let out a sigh, his posture didn't relax though and when he opened his eyes they were shuttered.
"I was living there, because my Dad in jail for killin' my ma and trying ta kill me. I'll see ya tomarrah, bye."
His abrupt departure startled Calleigh, but Horatio, Speed, and Eric understood—those thoughts were still painful, were still open and bleeding gashes that he'd hidden so well from everyone but family.
Seeing Anastasia at home making a mess of his kitchen with Adina after driving for an hour and a half after he left the bar was like a balm to the wounds Ryan had reopened—it re-grew the skin that kept it from causing more pain, however, it was thin. His shields on that topic had never been quite strong enough, never healed right; it was always in danger of re-opening.
It'd gotten better over the years, his siblings and his daughter helping to cauterize the nerves bared to the world, but there was so much left still left gaping, still bleeding with pain.
It'd helped telling Alex, and though he knew it was still healing he knew it had helped by telling Eric, seeing him understand after he had time to think. And when he'd finally feel up to it enough to tell Calleigh and Horatio the whole story he'd feel even better as long as they were supportive and not just giving him pity.
He couldn't handle pity, it angered him, sure he'd been through some shit in life—was still dealing with it—but he was a grown man with a daughter and was reasonably adjusted for all that he was and had happened to him.
He understood that the more people he told and the more he said it out loud, the more he accepted what he'd gone through and let it go. It helped, but it was so painful to relive it all again and again in each telling that he'd shied away from it for as long as he could.
As he kissed his Anya on the forehead and tasted one of her creations he smiled, really smiled, as he realized that the pain and the memories had been easier to push away, to acknowledge and move on to what was in front of him.
Psychology was a soft science, something that he Charlie, and Adina had a basic knowledge of because of their intellects. But, despite his disdain for his previous Doctors visits, he finally understood why they had told him he needed to finally get it all out.
He felt freer than he ever had and he could tell Adina could see the changes in him, that the smile was easier and his shoulders just a bit lighter, though she didn't say anything.
She just smiled and helped his daughter clean up before she left so he could get her ready for bed. As she left Adina kissed his cheek and hugged him whispering to him so softly he barely caught it.
"It gets even easier to carry as time goes by and the burden is halved with each telling, Ry."
And then she was gone and he had a little girl with frosting in her hair in his arms.