Author: The Plot Bunny Whisperer
Genre: Romance, Angst
Summary: Oneshot. There was an old adage that said, 'When you love something, set it free. If it returns, it's yours; if it doesn't, it never was.' So Harry would set him free. Slash
Pairing(s): Harry/Tim, Horatio/Tim, Surprise
Warnings: Slash, flangst.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't care, don't sue.
AN: I started writing this at about midnight and couldn't stop until it was done. The dialogue scene just popped into my head demanding to be written, and like a patsy, I fell to the plunny's whims. I blame the HP/CSI: Miami crossover I was reading. P.S.: This is pretty much fluffy angst.
I belong to the Speedle Isn't Dead, He's In Witness Protection Club.
When Tim and Harry met, it was as though fireworks had gone off. Neither would admit it, at least to anyone but themselves, that it was love at first sight.
Harry was only meant to be in Miami for a few days before he continued his traveling around the world. After meeting Tim, a few days turned into a few weeks, and soon Harry found himself leasing an apartment and settling himself firmly on Miami soil.
They didn't admit their attraction to each other out loud. They acted as just two very good friends, with subtle glances and brief shy touches on the side.
When Harry met Lt. Horatio Caine, it was like a bomb had gone off… in his stomach. He knew those looks. They were the same looks Harry would catch glimpses of when he looked at Tim, when the CSI would let his guard down for a brief moment. They were the same looks Harry saw in the mirror when he thought of Tim.
Tim was in love with his boss.
And Horatio was in love with Tim.
It was like a dance. For weeks Harry and Horatio danced warily around each other and around Tim. They were like wolves, watching each other warily as they circled a potential mate.
It wouldn't be long before something had to give.
Two months after Harry moved to Miami, he and Horatio found themselves standing side by side, unconsciously imitating each other's postures as they watched Tim through the glass walls of the interrogation room. For several days now Tim had been avoiding the both of them, using excuses they could both read through easily.
They both knew how the other felt about the CSI, just as they knew that Tim was in love with both of them in return.
But they couldn't both have him, were their similar thoughts.
"You know he's in love with you," Horatio said, breaking the silence between them.
"I know. He's in love with you also. He's conflicted. It's why he's been avoiding us."
Harry sighed, slouching slightly against the wall.
Horatio was good at reading people. In his line of work, he had to be. Though the younger man's face showed nothing but calmness, his eyes held a torrent of emotions. Wistfulness and love were chief among them, though he was somewhat surprised to see mourning and resignation.
"Lieutenant Caine... may I speak freely?" Horatio frowned slightly.
Harry took a moment to gather his thoughts.
"I love Tim. I know you do too. I don't like seeing him this way, confused and uncertain. One way or another, he's going to have to decide where his heart is." He paused for a moment. Horatio stayed quiet, having a feeling he wasn't done.
"I don't want him to have to choose. If he's the one who makes the choice, he'll spend the rest of his life always wondering, even if in the darkest corner of his mind, how things would be if they were different. No matter how much he loves the one he chooses, no matter how happy he is, it will always sit there in his mind. Similarly, his chosen will also wonder." Harry swallowed thickly, whispering, "It destroys people, that kind of thing."
Thoughts and memories of a bitter and broken man passed through his mind. A man who had chosen pride over love, and forever regretted, falling into a pit of bitterness and misery he never escaped from. He closed his eyes.
"I may not have known him as long as you have, but I can see that if gives himself to someone, he gives all of himself. This is what's causing his confliction. There's two of us, two people he's in love with, and his heart can't handle having to make that kind of choice. I don't want him to have to make that choice."
He looked away from Tim then, uncrossing his arms to stick his hands in his pockets as he stepped away from the wall.
"Will you tell him goodbye for me?"
Horatio eyes widened slightly. "Where are you going?" Harry's smile was bittersweet.
"I'm making his choice for him. I love him, and I always will. I can't say goodbye to him myself, because I know if I face him I'll never be able to leave."
Horatio watched as he began walking away, unable to stop the question from escaping.
Harry paused mid step, and spoke without turning around.
"He may love me, Mr. Caine... but he needs you more."
For several moments he could only watch the other man walk away. He turned his head to look at Tim, who apparently had finished the interrogation if the man being led away in cuffs meant anything. Tim was standing at the glass wall, watching Harry's retreating back with a peculiar expression on his face, as though he knew that Harry was leaving for good. He turned and met Horatio's eyes, his own filled with a desperate sort of panic.
Horatio had the sudden thought that perhaps Tim did need him, but he also needed Harry. The thought flipped over and over in his mind, assaulting him with thoughts of the future, of him and Timothy and their lives together... and the empty, gaping hole of something that was missing, something that made them incomplete without it.
It was then he realized that he needed Harry too.
Horatio stood taller, meeting Tim's eyes squarely. Something in his own must have convinced the CSI that everything would be fine, that he would take care of it, because his face smoothed from the tightness it held and he smiled as though a great burden had been lifted.
Horatio walked with determination, slipping his sunglasses on as he followed Harry out into the brilliant Miami sun.
Harry paused, looking over his shoulder in surprise and a bit of wariness.
"Lieutenant," he said evenly, drawing his arms close as though to protect himself.
"You know, you weren't entirely correct," Horatio said, face angled downward.
"And what wasn't I correct about?" Harry asked slowly, confusing creasing his forehead.
"Tim doesn't need me more than you... he needs you just as much." Harry's eyes widened, his mouth opened as though to speak though nothing came out. Horatio took his sunglasses off to look him squarely in the eyes, his sharp blue meeting Harry's brilliant green. "And so do I."
Harry stopped breathing for a moment. He stared at the man in dawning understanding and something akin to wonder. Horatio stepped forward, so close that the slightest twitch would have them touching.
"Tim loves us both, and we love him." Harry could almost imagine his own chest resonating with the tenor of the lieutenant's deep voice. "I'm pretty sure it wouldn't take much for me to love you." Harry's heart skipped. Horatio's blue eyes gazed deep into his own as though they were trying to read his very soul. "Do you think it's possible that you could love me as well?"
Slowly, Harry's eyes softened and he smiled, so brightly it almost made him shine. Horatio had the fleeting thought that it made the sun duller in comparison.
"Yeah," he breathed. "I rather think I could."