melissas_corner: (Horatio/Speed)
[personal profile] melissas_corner
Author’s Notes: This turned into something… I can’t find the words to describe what it’s become, but it’s not what it started out as. Also, I was listening to AC/DC Live while writing this. That may be why it turned from fluff into something a lot darker. This is for Bev.I want to thank the wonderful Suz who gave me the encouragement to rewrite this story. She also gave me the idea for the ending, which caused me to have to rewrite the whole thing.

Speed’s POV:

“Oh God, H.” I moan as my lover slowly pushes into me. He cornered me in the shower and now has me bent over the sink. I’m watching his face in the mirror, but he’s watching his dick disappear into my ass. “I love you.” I whisper and his eyes flick up to meet mine in the mirror and then back down to my ass. I have yet to really say it, I only whisper it when I think he isn’t listening or is asleep, although I know he knows how I feel.

“So beautiful, Speed. You are so beautiful like this.” He is, of course, talking about seeing me take his dick inside me. “Speed! God, don’t move,” he says through gritted teeth after only a few thrusts.

“Wha…?” I’m so close I can taste it and he wants to stop! No way in hell. I know he’s as close as I am. I can hear it in his voice; see it in the way the tendons stand out in his neck. I try to stay still, I really do, but he feels so damn good inside me that I can’t help but squeeze my muscles around the fullness in my ass.

“Damnit, Speed!” he shouts as hot fluid coats my insides, pushing me right over the edge with him.

“That was…” I sigh as I falter with what I’m trying to say. Because what I want to say is, ‘That was so beautiful’, but that would be too sappy. “…the best ever.” I know its kinda cliché, but what can I say? We’ve only been lovers for a few weeks. Right now, every time’s the best ever.

“Yeah, it was,” he agrees as he pulls out of me. We both groan at the loss of contact. “So, another shower, then?” he asks as he places an open-mouthed kiss to the middle of my back.

“Not with you.” There’s no way I am ever again going to step into a shower while he’s around. The first time we ever fucked was after he caught me masturbating in the shower at work. Every time I even think about taking a shower when he’s near, he jumps me and I have trouble sitting for several hours, sometimes even days, afterwards. And after the first time, for a whole week.

“Oh come on,” he chuckles. “I’m not that bad am I?”

Our eyes meet in the mirror and I can’t help but laugh at the look of mock affront on his face. “Yeah, you are. I would really like to go into work just once without everyone knowing what I’d done the night before,” I state as I start to clean myself off.

“Like they wouldn’t still know that you’d gotten laid. You can’t keep that silly I’ve-just-been-fucked look off your face.” He was right. Even if it had been hours since we’d last fucked, I couldn’t keep from smiling like a loon.

“So? Maybe I’m tired of walking like I have a stick up my ass.” I regret the words as soon as they leave my mouth. I love it when he takes me; however he wants to take me, whenever he wants to take me. Whether it's gently, while flat on my back in bed, roughly on my hands and knees or pressed up against a wall with our pants pushed down around our ankles. “H? I didn’t mean it the way it came out.”

“Yeah, I know.” He’s hurt. I’ve actually hurt him with my words. Something I swore I’d never do.

He won’t meet my eyes in the mirror, so I turn around only to find him walking away. “H? I’m sorry.”

“Yeah? Just how sorry are you?” he challenges me as he stops next to his bed. A bed that I now know better than my own. When I don’t respond, he glances back at me over his shoulder; a shoulder that bears my mark. A mark given just hours before in the heat of the moment. Biting him is the only way I can feel in control, when he fucks me. It helps if I think we have this connection. The pain of having skin broken. Blood spilled. “Come on, Speed. Show me just how sorry you really are.” The gleam in his eyes is one I’ve never seen before, at least not when he’s looking at me. It’s the look that he reserves for the worst of the worst. Those suspects that think they’re better, smarter, than he is and will get away with whatever it is they did wrong. I, of course, know better. No one is smarter or better than Horatio Caine. Especially when it comes to getting a suspect to confess or getting me to scream in ecstasy. And man, does he know all my hot spots.

The first time was fast and furious, the second only a little slower. It wasn’t until several days later that I learned every inch of his body and he mine. Now, we only go straight for the hot spots when there isn’t time to go slow, like when he catches me getting out of the shower or sees me heading towards the locker room at work. The one and only time he fucked me at work is still a hot memory. I get hard just thinking about how wild he was that day.

“…sorry you are.” I shake my head to clear it as I realize he’s still speaking to me. “What are you going to do, Speed? You hurt my feelings, so how are you going to apologize? Hm?”

I can think of something, something that he’s wanted me to do, but I’ve been hesitant to try again. I can see that same thought in his face, his eyes, clear blue with sparks of mischief. He looks like a leprechaun or some escapee from A Midsummer Night's Dream, standing there, naked and gorgeous and all mine. A Puck. A Pooka. He's enchanted me. The bastard. I can't help smiling a little that he's got me thinking about going somewhere I swore I wasn't ready to go. Again.

'Cause let’s face it, until H came into my life I was as straight as they get. I mean, just months before he and I first got together, I broke up with a girl who could have been in pornos. Yeah, she was wild and so sexy. But then again so is Horatio. He’s taught me things that I’d never even heard of or thought were possible.

“Okay, you want me to show you just how sorry I am?” I ask, willing to play his game, as I approach where he’s still standing by the bed. “How about this for an apology?” I stop just inches away and place both hands on his shoulders to push him backwards onto the bed.

He lands with a slight bounce and a huge grin. I don’t usually take the lead; I was a virgin in the ways of sex with another guy until I met him after all. He’s been trying to get me to be more aggressive in bed and top, but that’s just not me. I love being his bottom. I know he likes to be topped from time to time and I did it for him once. I don’t think I did it right. Neither one of us came while I was inside him. It was only when he entered me that we both came. I’ve never had a more intense orgasm in my life, before or since. Then there are the blowjobs. He loves to give and receive them. I love to get them, especially from him. I tried to blow him once, but the size of him, trying to take it all, well, it didn’t work.

“Oh, so now you’re mister tough guy, huh?” he’s taunting me. I know he is and damnit all to hell, it’s working.

“I’ll show you tough,” I growl as I crawl up the bed to lie on top of him. He just grins up at me. He knows how scared I am and he’s getting off on knowing that I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. I straddle his torso and kiss him for all I’m worth just to buy myself some time. I want to do this for him, I need to do this for me, I just don’t know how. I love this man more than I’ve ever loved anyone and I’m so scared that if I don’t get this right, he’ll leave me for someone who will.

“Speed, baby. It’s okay. You know you don’t have to.” He always seems to know when I need encouraging. “Just being with you is enough.” The compassion in his voice is almost painful to me. Like I need to feel even more inadequate. Damn him.

“No it’s not, H. Not anymore. I need to do this. I just don’t want to fuck up again.” I feel bad whining about this. He’s been nothing but patient with me and here I am complaining about being a total screw up.

“You could never fuck this up, baby,” he gives me a gentle smile of encouragement.

“I fucked it up last time.” I duck my head to hide my tear-filled eyes.

“You tried to do too much, too fast last time. Just go slow. Take it easy. And don’t forget to…”

“Breathe,” I finish for him. The first time we fucked, he told me to breathe at least five times. It has become something of a code for us. Whenever one of us is doing something we find uncomfortable we’ll say, ‘Just breathe’ to let the other know it's okay and that we understand how hard it is. “Yeah. How could I possibly forget that? You’re always telling me to breathe,” I snap at him as I glance back up. It's damned heard to, with his dick down my throat, dammit all.

“Well, it works, doesn’t it?” he just grins at me. He makes it really hard to stay mad. “Whatcha gonna do now, tough guy?” He licks his lips as one hand reaches out to stroke my reawakened erection. “Are ya just gonna sit on my chest, or are ya gonna fuck me?” With the emphasis placed on the word fuck, I know he’s on to me. He knows I want to blow him.

“I…god, Horatio. Why is this so hard for me?” Again, I’m whining like a girl.

“Maybe cause it’s a dick and not a pussy?”

I glance at him, not sure how to read his tone. “No, that’s not it," I say, refusing to let him provoke me again. "I’ve been dreaming and thinking about doing this for a long time now. I don’t have a problem with your dick.” I sigh and start to get off him, but he grabs my thighs and holds me in place.

“Tim. Look at me.” He commands, my boss once again, then the lover returns as his grip and his voice softens. “Just start with my face and work your way down when you feel like it,” he continues when I look him in the eye.

I can do this. I can. I lean down and start to kiss his forehead. Just little chaste pecks at first, then bolder open-mouthed kisses as I forget that my goal is to take his dick in my mouth. I kiss him everywhere. His eyes, his nose, his cheeks. I ignore his lips for now, just concentrating on the feel of his skin beneath my lips, the taste of his sweat on my tongue. One of my favorite things is to nibble on his ear. He has really sensitive ears. And nipples. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I lick a path from his chin to his left ear and start to nibble. He starts to moan and squirm. “Tim…” His voice is husky and he’s a little out of breath, like he’s just run a marathon. “God, Tim. I lo…” he stops mid word and I stop mid nibble. Did he almost say what I think he almost said?

“H?” I pull back to look him in the eye.

“Tim. I…uh…I…” he falters and turns his head away. I guess it's just too soon for him. But not for me.

“I love you, Horatio Caine.” I finally say it out loud and I’ve never felt…more sick to my stomach in all my life. Oh my god! I can’t believe I just said that. “H, I…”

“No, Tim don’t ever be sorry or try to apologize for how you feel. Just because I’m not ready to say it, doesn’t mean you’re not.” He’s starting to look as terrified as I feel. I hope my declaration doesn’t scare him off.

“Then you know.” A statement, not a question.

“I hear you say it all the time. You might think I’m not paying attention or I’m sleeping, but that’s what I want you to think.” He shifts so that he’s sitting up and is eye level with me. “The first time, I thought I was hearing things, you’d said it so softly. But you said it again the next night and I started to pretend I wasn’t listening or was sleeping so I could hear it again. I feel better knowing you love me.” His eyes soften as he says ‘love me’. Is this what he needs? To be loved?

“H?” I say as I shake my head. I’m becoming more and more confused by this conversation. The Horatio I fell for would never allow himself to be seen as vulnerable. Not this vulnerable, at any rate.

“It’s okay," he says. I don't know if he's reassuring me or himself. "I knew before I even heard the words come out of your mouth. It’s in the way you touch me, the way you look at me when I enter you. But mostly it’s in the way you say my name as you climax.”

All this emotion has me kinda choked up and to hide the tears that are threatening to fall, I grab his head with both hands and try to remove his tonsils with my tongue. I am so going to give this man the blowjob of his life! Even if it kills me, and it just might.

“Speed,” he pulls back to gulp some much-needed air and to try to get me under control again. “Go slow. We have all night.” The smile on his face is the same one he gave me the first day we met. The one that the victims get. The ‘I’m here for you if you ever need anything’ look. The one I just realized I fell for all those years ago. I’ve been in love with Horatio Caine for years and didn’t even know it, until now.

I lean back in and capture his lips with mine. The kiss starts out slow but then gets deeper, more desperate. I can feel his stubble rubbing against my cheek as I kiss my way back to his ear, where I continue to nibble on the lobe and lavish attention on the delicate outer shell. Then I kiss my way down to his shoulder to deepen the mark I placed there earlier. Again taking some control of the situation. This is all I can do for now. Maybe someday soon I can forget my inhibitions and do more.

He hisses at the pain of my teeth breaking the skin. “Good thing that stays covered. I really don’t want to have to explain why I’ve got a bite mark on my shoulder,” he gives a small half-chuckle. I am encouraged by this. I was afraid he would be disgusted by my need to mark him. Let him see a little of my world.

“Mmmm,” is all I say to that. Like he’d ever explain something he didn’t feel others needed to know.

Once the mark is as deep as I want it, reveling in the sharp, metallic taste of his blood, I kiss and lick my way across his shoulder to the hollow where his collarbones meet. I dip my tongue there just like he does to my navel and press my lips to the pulse jumping there. I leave another mark, this one without the teeth, and continue my exploration of his body. He is so very perfect. Just the right amount of hair on his chest and these pert little nipples hidden underneath. As I kiss my way across his upper chest, one hand finds a nipple and begins to tease it to attention.

“God, Speed. The things you make me feel. Those hands of yours should be illegal,” he gasps as I finally take his right nipple into my mouth and start to suckle.

My hands, my illegal hands, are on the move. Stroking and teasing everywhere I can reach. Everywhere except where he wants my touch the most. His dick. That’s for later.

I push him back down onto the bed and lick my way down his side to where his body meets his leg and then run my tongue over to the other side, stopping to lap at his belly button. He’s bucking like a wild bronco now as he tries to get some friction on his dick. I hold him down with one hand, while the other continues to play with his nipples.

“Speed!” He’s frantic now. Just the way I usually am. He’s been teaching me how to please him by using my body as an example. Now I’m going to show him what I’ve learned.

I kiss, nibble, suck, and lick my way down his left thigh. I look up at him through my eyelashes and catch just a hint of blue peeking out from beneath his half-closed eyes. I feel a rush knowing I’m making this man feel this way. Just knowing that I can make Horatio Caine lose control is like the drugs I used to do to forget about my painful existence. Now Horatio is my drug. A drug like no other because he makes me stronger. As we gaze at each other and our eyes meet, I know without a doubt that he loves me every bit as much as I love him. Like he said to me, it’s in the little things. The way he touches me, even at work, the way he looks at me as he enters my body, and most importantly, the way he says my name. It doesn’t even have to be in bed; he puts everything he feels, but can’t say, into my name.

I dip my head down to continue to show him just how much I love him. And find that I’m finally ready to give his dick the attention it deserves.

I lean up just a little and look at it. It’s a deep purple that looks painful, and steadily weeping pre-come. As I run my fingers up the side, he holds his breath. I know what he wants, needs, me to do and I’ll do it. When I’m done teasing him. I treat him to the same torture he’s inflicted on me each and every time he’s done this to me. A soft stroke with just the fingertips up one side and just a little more pressure down the other. Then I grab the base and give it a squeeze, which makes him whimper in need. “Not yet, baby.” I remind him. “I’m in charge right now.”

“Speed,” my name is both a curse and a plea on his lips.

I just chuckle as I stroke my fist lightly up the shaft to the head where I rub the palm of my hand in tiny circles, making him hiss in pain/pleasure. I’ve never been able to make him this needy before and I’m afraid the power is going straight to my head. This must be how he feels when he brings me to the brink over and over before allowing me to climax.

I continue to lightly stroke him as I watch his face. I can tell when he’s getting close. He bites his lip until he draws blood. When I see that, I lean up and lick it off. “Mmm. Horatio Caine. My favorite drug,” I murmur in his ear as I increase both the pace and tightness of my hand on his dick. He knows he’s like a drug to me. The first night we were together I told him I was addicted to him. He just laughed and said he felt the same.

As I feel his climax drawing ever closer, I lean down and take him into my mouth.

“Shit, Speed!” he cries out as I swallow him whole. “Easy, baby. Maybe a little warning next time?” I just look at him through my eyelashes as I continue to suck on his dick. He grabs fistfuls of my hair and starts to fuck my mouth with the same intensity as he fucks my ass. I suck air in through my nose with every outstroke, so I don't suffocate, and listen to him pant his need.

“I’m gonna come now Speed!” he warns as I feel his balls tighten up in their sacks. I pull back until just the head of his dick is in my mouth and start to swallow right before the first of his liquid hits my tongue. The taste is so Horatio: slightly bitter with a salty aftertaste. I love it and want more. I suck him dry and continue to hold his dick in my mouth until it’s soft and then I allow it to fall out with a soft ‘pop’.

“Mmm. Yummy. Now I know why you love doing that so much,” I say as I crawl up his body to share his pillow.

“No. I love to do that because it’s the only time you’ll allow me to take part of you into my body,” he says, and the anger in his voice throws me.

I roll over to stare at him, my heart hammering. Not again. Please, not this again. Can't he take this one step at the time? I just blew another man for the first time in my life. And loved it. Why does he feel the need to push me so fast?

“I couldn’t get you off, H!” I can’t believe he wants to discuss this now. I just want to bask in the post coital glow and he wants to rehash an old fight. The time in question happened about a week ago and was our first fight as a couple. “Please let’s not argue about that again. Okay?”

“No,” he says in a clipped voice as he sits up, dislodging me from his side.

Uh-oh. I know that voice. It’s the one that Stetler usually gets. I call it his ‘I really can’t stand you, but I have to be polite to you’ voice. Only this time, it has real hurt and anger in it.

“We need to discuss this, Timothy.”

Oh, god. He used my full name. I’m Speed when he’s happy, horny, or about to come; Tim when he’s being serious or is getting angry, and Timothy when he’s pissed. When he reaches the point where he’s using my full name, I’d better do my best to make things right.

The last time he called me Timothy was on Dispo Day, months before I realized I am attracted to him. And after he found out that I wasn’t cleaning my gun. I hate guns.

I know, what am I doing in a job where I have to be around something that scares the shit out of me? Well, I really don’t know why I started working as a CSI. But I know I’ll never leave as long as Horatio is around.

“Please, Horatio. Not now,” I beg.

“Then when?” he demands as he gets out of bed to pace the room like a caged tiger. “We’ve been together almost a month now, Tim. When are we going to discuss this?”

“Discuss what exactly?” I ask as I climb out of bed to approach where he’s standing staring out the window at the ocean. “I thought this was about the fact that I don’t want to top you.”

“It is.” He's rigid and angry, and he scares me when he's like this.

“Liar,” I whisper. There has to be more to this.

He turns around so fast he almost hits me. “What did you just say?” his eyes narrow, his attention focused completely on my face.

God, did I just blow this? The best relationship I’ve ever been in? With just one word?


“Don’t even think of lying to me, Speedle.” He’s never called me that before. This is a new element. A part of him I don’t know and am not sure I ever want to.

“I called you a liar,” I swallow past the lump in my throat, mouth dry, knowing I'm taking the biggest risk I've ever taken with Horatio. "We both know this isn’t about the fact that I couldn’t make you come when I topped last week. So why don’t you just tell me what’s wrong? Maybe I can help.”

“Get out,” he growls.

My god. I did just blow this. I fight back tears as my world comes crashing down.

Author's Notes: This was supposed to be all about Speed and his relationship with Horatio and how he deals with something dark and evil from Horatio’s past. Well, Horatio decided he wanted you to know his side of things too. I don’t know if you’ll get both sides of everything that happens, but I do know that you’ll get it for two events. I know this because both events are already written. The first one is part one and the second one…well to tell you would give too much away. Both events are turning points for the boys, which is why you’re getting them from both sides.

Horatio’s POV:

“Oh God, H,” Tim moans as I slowly push into him. I cornered him in the shower and now have him bent over the sink, exactly where I want him. He’s watching my face in the mirror, but I’m watching my dick disappear into his ass. “I love you,” he whispers and I flick my eyes up to meet his in the mirror and then back down to his ass. He has yet to really say it; he only whispers it when he thinks I’m not listening or I'm asleep, although I know how he feels.

“So beautiful, Speed. You are so beautiful like this.” I am, of course, talking about watching him take my dick inside him, because I’ve never seen anything more beautiful in my life than the way his body accepts mine. Craves mine.

I begin to move inside him, too aroused now to make this last, but I want to, more than anything. I slow, then stop, gritting my teeth against the urge to come. If he can just… “Speed! God, don’t move,” I beg, wanting more of this sweet heat.

“Wha…?” He is so close. And so am I. I love the way he feels around my dick. He’s still so very tight. All I want to do right now is become a part of him. I want to take him into my body and lose myself in him. He tries to stay still; I can see how much of an effort it is for him. I can feel it in the muscles of his back as I run my hands up to his neck and back down to his ass. Just as I’m starting to gain control of myself, he squeezes me, hard.

“Damnit, Speed!” I shout as I coat his insides, pushing him right over the edge with me.

“That was…” he sighs as he falters with what he’s trying to say. “…the best ever,” is what he ends with.

“Yeah, it was,” I agree as I pull out of him. We both groan at the loss of contact, neither of us wanting it to end. But our bodies are too sensitized right now to maintain this kind of touch. “So, another shower, then?” I ask as I place an open-mouthed kiss to the middle of his back. I have this obsession with him and showers. The first time we ever fucked was after I’d caught him masturbating in the shower at work. I can’t help but get hard every time showers and his name are mentioned in the same sentence. The first time was fast and furious, the second only a little less so. The need was so strong for both of us that it took a few days before we could slow down enough to learn to read each other’s bodies. To know every inch of skin, every hair. And for him, every freckle. Now, we only go straight for the hot spots when there isn’t time to go slow. Like when I catch him getting out of the shower or see him heading towards the locker room at work. Though we’ve only fucked there once, when my control slipped too badly for me to be able to wait.

“Not with you,” he says as he pushes himself upright, forcing me to take a step back.

“Oh come on,” I chuckle. “I’m not that bad am I?” I ask as I try for an affronted look, knowing that I am failing miserably.

Our eyes meet in the mirror and he laughs at the look of mock indignation on my face. “Yeah, you are. I would really like to go into work just once without everyone knowing what I’d done the night before,” he states as he starts to clean himself off.

“Like they wouldn’t still know that you’d gotten laid. You can’t keep that silly I’ve-just-been-fucked look off your face.” I say as I grab the towel from him to clean myself.

“So? Maybe I’m tired of walking like I have a stick up my ass.”

Ouch. Okay, that stings. I can tell he regrets the words as soon as they leave his mouth. Fortunately, I know he loves it when I take him; however I want to take him, whenever I want to take him.

“H? I didn’t mean it the way it came out,” he backpedals a little, looking like he wished he’d never opened his mouth on the subject.

“Yeah, I know.” I’m pretending to be hurt. I have something that I want him to do and guilt is the best motivator I know.

“H? I’m sorry.” He says as I exit the bathroom to walk over to the bed.

“Yeah? Just how sorry are you?” I ask sharply as I stop next to my, our, bed. A bed he spends more time in than his own. When he doesn’t respond, I glance back at him over my shoulder; seeing the mark he left on me just hours before. It makes me shiver a little, knowing he lost some of his inhibitions enough to take some kind of control. To mark me as his. “Come on, Speed. Show me just how sorry you really are.” I feel like I do when I’m interrogating a suspect who thinks that they’re smarter than me. So very powerful. So very in control. None of them have ever been smarter than me. “I’d really like to know just how sorry you are.”

I see him shake his head as if to clear it as I continue speaking to him. “What are you going to do, Speed? You hurt my feelings, so how are you going to apologize? Hm?” I let my voice go from sharp to husky, letting him know exactly what I want from him by way of apology.

“Okay, you want me to show you just how sorry I am?” he snaps as he approaches me by the bed. I can tell he's stressed from the way he is standing and the tone of his voice. He’s pissed off. I shiver again, my belly going tense with need. “How about this for an apology?” He stops just inches away and shoves me backwards onto the mattress.

I land with a slight bounce and a huge grin. I’ve been trying to get him to be more aggressive in bed, because it’s the one place I can afford to let myself be vulnerable. Let myself not control everything. I have no idea how to get Tim to accept a power position in this relationship, but I know I need him to, if we’re going to make this work in the long run. But he’s still new to homosexual sex. I love topping him, but I also like to be topped from time to time. I got him to try once. He was so nervous that neither one of us came while he was inside me. It was only when I entered him that we both came.

Then there are the blowjobs. I love to give them, especially to him, and I also love to receive them. He tried to blow me once, but again, he was too nervous to finish what he started.

“Oh so now you’re mister tough guy, huh?” I taunt him, knowing that making him angry is the only way to make him let go.

“I’ll show you tough,” he growls as he crawls up the bed to lie on top of me. I just grin up at him. I know how scared he is of taking charge but I’m getting off on knowing that he’s pushing his limits. He straddles my torso and kisses me for all he’s worth. I can feel the tension in every muscle of his body, and I realize he’s trying to buy himself some time, here.

“Speed, baby. It’s okay. You know you don’t have to,” I say as I grab his head to make him stop and listen. “Just being with you is enough.”

“No it’s not, H. Not anymore. I need to do this. I just don’t want to fuck up again.”

“You could never fuck this up, baby.” I smile up at him.

“I fucked it up last time.” He ducks his head.

I hate the self-consciousness and anxiety in his voice. He can’t give me what I need from him when he’s so caught up in doing it right... He doesn’t know there’s no wrong way to fuck me. Yet. “You tried to do too much, too fast, last time. Just go slow. Take it easy. And don’t forget to…”

“Breathe,” he finishes for me.

The first time we fucked, I must have told him to breathe at least five times. It has become a code word for us. Something we use whenever one of us is doing something we find uncomfortable to let the other know it's okay and that we understand how hard it is.

“Yeah. How could I possibly forget that? You’re always telling me to breathe,” he snaps at me.

“Well, it works, doesn’t it?” I just grin at him. I let him get angry with me; he’s beautiful when he’s angry. And more than that, I can feel my own muscles relax into his anger, his sudden surge of authority and intensity. I’m the one who always has to be in charge. Be the boss. And God, sometimes, I just need to let that go. Just accept someone else’s authority over me, just for a little bit. Until I can go out and face the world again and feel like I know what the hell I’m doing, making life and death decisions for the people I work with, or the victims we try to help. For some people, their god can absolve them. For me, it’s Tim. I need Tim to do this for me. Tell me what to do. Make me do it. And make me love it. To give me a moment of total surrender, knowing everything will still be okay, even if I’m not in control.

“Whatcha gonna do now, tough guy?” I goad him, licking my lips as I reach out with one hand to stroke his firming erection. “Are ya just gonna sit on my chest, or are ya gonna fuck me?” I know he’s going to try to blow me. Maybe even wants to, and is pissed off enough now to enjoy it. So I push him, emphasizing the word ‘fuck’ to let him know I’m onto him.

And suddenly, the uncertainty is back in his voice, back in his eyes, dammit. His anger fades and my own begins to stir.

“I…god, Horatio. Why is this so hard for me?”

“Maybe 'cause it’s a dick and not a pussy?” I ask with a hint of sarcasm. He once told me how much he used to love going down on the women he beds.

“No, that’s not it. I’ve been dreaming and thinking about doing this for a long time now. I don’t have a problem with your dick.” He sighs and starts to get off me, but I grab his thighs and hold him in place.

“Tim. Look at me.” I command. I have to get him focused again. Get him to realize this isn’t about me judging his technique. It’s about letting him love me. Even the terrified part of me that needs to give up control to him, even if it’s only in such a small way. To accept me, my weaknesses. Weakness I can’t show the world outside my bedroom. “Just start with my face and work your way down when you feel like it,” I continue when he looks me in the eye. Thank god. I’ve got his attention again, and I can see the heat rise in his gaze as he stares down at me.

He leans down and starts to kiss my forehead. Just light little touches of his lips, at first, then bolder open-mouthed kisses as he gains more confidence. He kisses me everywhere except my mouth, just concentrating on the feel of my skin beneath his lips. I have really sensitive ears, and he knows it. He licks a path from my chin to my left ear and starts to nibble. I start to moan and squirm. “Tim…” My voice is husky and I’m a little out of breath, like I’ve been running. “God, Tim. I lo…” I stop mid word and he stops mid nibble. Oh god. What the hell am I saying? Am I really ready to be that vulnerable to him? I really shouldn’t have stopped like that. I should have turned it into something else. Like ‘I love when you do that.’ But because I stopped mid word, if I change it now he’ll know he’s not the only one who feels something here.

“H?” He pulls back to look me in the eye.

“Tim. I…uh…I…” I falter and turn my head away.

“I love you, Horatio Caine.” He finally says it out loud. The rush of emotion it stirs in me scares the shit out of me. And amazes me more than I can say.

“H, I…”

And from the suddenly terrified look on his face, I know he’s afraid I’ll take some kind of offense, instead of being shaken to my soul by his simple statement. “No, Tim, don’t ever be sorry or try to apologize for how you feel. Just because I’m not ready to say it, doesn’t mean you’re not.” And I am such a coward. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I tell him just how much I need him? That I love him? That for the first time since my wife left me, I’m letting someone close enough to see that I’m not the pillar of strength the world thinks I am?

“Then you know.” A statement, not a question.

“I hear you say it all the time," I tell him, the rush of tenderness nearly choking me. "You might think I’m not paying attention or I’m sleeping, but that’s what I want you to think.” I shift so that I’m sitting up and eye level with him. “The first time, I thought I was hearing things, you’d said it so softly. But you said it again the next night and I started to pretend I wasn’t listening or was sleeping so I could hear it again. I feel better knowing you love me.” And it’s the truth. It’s given me the guts to try and ask for what I need from him. Ask for that absolution. Ask for him to take what I want to give him: my authority, my self-confidence, the weight that rests on me all day, every day. I want him to take it away. Just for a little while. Give me some peace.

“H?” he says as he shakes his head.

“It’s okay. I knew before I even heard the words come out of your mouth. It’s in the way you touch me, the way you look at me when I enter you. But mostly it’s in the way you say my name as you climax.” I stroke the side of his face gently to keep him focused on my words. I need to make sure he knows how much I trust him, and how honored I am to know how he feels about me. It’s the thing that might make this possible for both of us. This… relationship.

I can see his eyes fill with tears he refuses to shed as he grabs my head with both hands and tries to suck my heart out with his tongue.

“Speed,” I pull away to gulp some air and to try to get him back under control. “Go slow. We have all night.” I give him the smile that the victims get. The ‘I’m here for you if you ever need anything’ look. And it works with him just like it works with the victims.

He leans back in and captures my lips with his. The kiss starts out slow, but then gets deeper, more desperate. I can feel his stubble rubbing against my cheek as he kisses his way back to my ear, where he continues to nibble on the lobe and lavish attention on the outer rim. Then he kisses his way down to my shoulder to deepen the mark he placed there earlier. I hiss at the pain of his teeth breaking the skin.

“Good thing that stays covered. I really don’t want to have to explain why I’ve got a bite mark on my shoulder,” I can’t help the half-laugh as the pain sizzles through me, his mark far deeper on me than just my skin. I feel the first little tingle of a release I haven't felt in years. His ownership of that one square inch of my skin sears me. Knowing he is tasting my blood.

“Mmmm,” is all he says to that.

Once the mark is as deep as he wants it, he begins to kiss and lick his way across my shoulder to the hollow where my collarbones meet. He dips his tongue there just like I do to his navel and presses his lips to the pulse jumping there. He leaves another mark, this one without the teeth, and continues his exploration of my body. As he kisses his way across my upper chest, one hand finds a nipple and begins to tease it hard.

“God, Speed. The things you make me feel. Those hands of yours should be illegal,” I gasp as he finally takes my right nipple into his mouth and starts to suckle.

His illegal hands are on the move. Stroking and teasing everywhere he can reach. Everywhere except where I want, need, his touch the most. My dick.

He pushes me back down onto the bed and licks his way down my side to my leg and then runs his tongue over to the other side, stopping to lap at my navel. I’m thrashing like a hooked fish now as I try to get some friction on my dick. He just holds me down with one hand while the other continues to play with my nipples.

“Speed!” I’m frantic now. Just the way I usually have him. I’ve been teaching him how to please me by using his body as an example. Now he’s showing me what he’s learned.

He kisses, nibbles, sucks, and licks his way down my left thigh, looking up at me through his eyelashes. As we gaze at each other and our eyes meet, I know without a doubt that he can see I love him every bit as much as he loves me. Like I said to him, it’s in the little things. His name. The way I say it. The way I touch him, both publicly and privately. And God help me, I need him like I’ve never needed anyone in my life. My body is begging for him to set me free. And it scares me to death.

As he runs his fingers up the side of my dick, I hold my breath. He knows what I want, need, him to do and he’ll do it. Eventually. When he’s done teasing me. I’m being treated to the same torture I’ve used on him each and every time I’ve done this to him. A soft stroke with just the fingertips up one side and just a little more pressure down the other. Then he grabs the base and gives it a squeeze, which makes me whimper with need.

“Not yet, baby,” he reminds me. “I’m in charge right now.”

“Speed.” I beg, his assertion of control a rush in my blood. His name is everything from plea to curse in my mouth.

He just chuckles as he strokes his fist lightly up the shaft to the head where he rubs the palm of his hand in tiny circles, and I hiss with the pleasure of it, the near-pain of his calloused palm electric against my cockhead. He’s never been able to make me this needy before. This is almost what I need from him. To make me give him control. I have my hands fisted in the sheets to keep from grabbing him and having this end the way I want, no need for it to.

He continues to lightly stroke me as he watches my face. He waits – and waits, and I bite my lip, drawing blood. The feral look in his eyes as he leans up and licks it off nearly makes me come right there.

“Mmm. Horatio Caine. My favorite drug,” he murmurs in my ear as he increases both the pace and tightness of his hand on my dick. I stiffen in response to being called a drug, a rush of anxiety and anger flooding me, only to be burned away by his next move.

As I feel my climax rushing towards me like a freight train, he leans down and takes me into his mouth.

“Shit, Speed!” I cry out as he swallows me whole. “Easy, baby. Maybe a little warning next time?” It takes all my effort to speak, and he just looks at me through his eyelashes as he continues to suck on my dick. I grab fistfuls of his hair and start to fuck his mouth the way I fuck his ass, with the same single-mindedness, the same need. “I’m gonna come now Speed!” I warn as I feel my balls tighten up. He pulls back until just the head of my dick is in his mouth and starts to swallow the second before I spurt, and the pressure of his tongue along the bottom of my dick makes me want to sob. He sucks me dry and continues to hold me in his mouth until I’ve gone limp. When he finally lets me go, it’s with a soft ‘pop’.

“Mmm. Yummy. Now I know why you love doing that so much,” he says as he crawls up my body to share my pillow.

“No. I love to do that because it’s the only time you’ll allow me to take part of you into my body,” I answer, my mind and heart in chaos. I can’t believe he’s just going to by-pass the fact that he called me his drug of choice. I. AM. NOT. ANYONE’S. DRUG. Not even Timothy Speedle’s. And I love him with all my heart and soul. But he knows how I feel about addicts. After all, Ray said he loved me too, and look where he ended up.

“I couldn’t get you off, H! Please let’s not argue about that again. Okay?” He's freaking on me, but I can't care. I can’t. I can't go there again. I lost my brother to an addiction, and Timothy is - is too important to lose to that demon. Even if I'm his drug. I couldn't break Ray's addiction, but I can break Tim's.

“No,” I say in a clipped voice as I sit up, dislodging him from my side. I can see he recognizes my tone. It’s the one that Stetler usually gets. Eric and Calleigh call it my ‘I really can’t stand you, but I have to be polite to you’ voice. Only this time, I can hear hurt and anger in it. He probably can, too. “We need to discuss this, Timothy.” I use his full name on purpose. He needs to know he crossed a line.

The last time I called him Timothy was on Dispo Day. That day from some nightmare. A nightmare where his vest does not catch the bullet and we bury him along side Officer Hollis.

Right after I found out that he wasn’t cleaning his gun.

“Please, Horatio. Not now.”

“Then when?” I demand as I get out of bed to pace back and forth in front of it. “We’ve been together almost a month now, Tim. When are we going to discuss this?”

“Discuss what exactly? I thought this was about the fact that I don’t want to top you.” I hear him get out of the bed and approach where I’m standing, staring out at the ocean.

“It is.” I try my best to convince myself that's ALL it's about. And know that I am failing miserably.

“Liar.” That simple word, like a slap to my face.

I turn around so fast I almost hit him. I didn’t realize how close he was. “What did you just say?” My eyes narrow on his face.


“Don’t even think of lying to me, Speedle.” I’ve never called him that before. I am beyond pissed, now, and he is so far over the line it might as well be in another county. The last man to call me a liar barely made it to the hospital, where he was in a coma for three weeks.

“I called you a liar. We both know this isn’t about the fact that I couldn’t make you come when I topped last week. So why don’t you just tell me what’s wrong? Maybe I can help.” He's terrified. But he can't be any more scared than I am.

Help? Nothing can help me now. Tim can't afford the price. Neither can I. I was so damned wrong to have let him into my heart. But I couldn't have stopped him if I'd tried. Now I can only hope I can get him back out without it killing both of us.

"Get out," I say, and watch as his world ends, his shocked pain nearly killing me right there. I know I'll wish it had before this is over.

Author's Notes: Okay. This part really got away from me. I got some help from K and a few friends at work who don’t know it’s slash. Semi-public sex is mentioned but not described. I know, don’t shoot me. It just didn’t need to be described. And of course as always, huge huge thanks to K and Suz for their wonderful job as my betas. Love ya, guys.

Horatio's POV:

"There's nothing you can do to help," I say as I turn around to face the window again.

"Horatio? Please talk to me. Don't shut me out," he pleads as I stalk to the bathroom.

"I'll thank you to lock the door on your way out," I dismiss him as I refrain from slamming the door. Just barely. I can hear muffled noises. Sobs? I can't stand to hear the pain I've caused him, so I walk over to the sink, where just thirty minutes ago I fucked his brains out, and turn on the tap in order to drown him out.

Twenty minutes later, I leave the bathroom and strip the sheets from the bed. I can't decide whether or not to throw them away, so I just stash them in the back of the closet to deal with later. Maybe when I'm not hurting so much myself. How am I going to work beside him every day, knowing the pain I've caused him with my words and actions? And how can I work with him when my own pain threatens to eviscerate me? No one has ever been as close to me as Timothy Speedle.

As I remake the bed, my cell phone rings.

Tim's been gone for almost an hour now.

I know instinctively that it's him.

I curse the passive aggressive part of me that wants him to leave a voice message. I'm going to need something to listen to on the long, cold, lonely nights that will make up the rest of my life. Several minutes later, my phone beeps to let me know he's finished leaving his message. I force myself to wait several more agonizing minutes before listening to it.

My hands shake as I pick up the phone to listen to the last words I'm ever going to receive from him.

"H,” he clears his throat. I can tell he's trying to keep from crying and I'm struck by the wave of guilt that sweeps through me for the pain I've caused him. “I haven't slept in close to twenty-four hours. I doubt I'm going to get any sleep in what remains of the night. I'm taking a personal day, because I won't be able to do my job, the shape I'm in now. I'm not avoiding you. Really I'm not. I just don't think I will be able to concentrate on the job.” He pauses and just when I think he's done and is about to hang up, he continues, "Whatever I did to make you angry, I'm sorry.” The words are the barest of whispers. I hardly hear them before he sighs, “I still love you, Horatio." Then he hangs up.

I shut my phone with a snap and collapse on the bed, my body shaking with my heartrending sobs. I've just destroyed the best thing that ever happened to me.

All because he was honest about his addiction. To me.

I knew that I should never have started this relationship in the first place. My needs are so far beyond what a normal man would ask of a lover. And so twisted, spawned by the darkness we both work against. How the hell could I confess them to someone as basically innocent as Tim? But, for just a little while, I was stupid enough to hope he could be the one I need. And God help me, he is the one I need. But I have no idea how to ask him for what I want from him.

I think about Tim, his sweetness, the pain he's been through in his own life, and I curse the fate that brought him to me, and made him unable to cope with my addiction. One there is no treatment for, except the touch of a lover who can see beyond, to the reason for it.

Somehow I manage to fall asleep and I feel even worse when I wake up to my alarm. It's another day. The first without Tim. If I'd just kept my hands off him I wouldn't now know what I'm losing and will spend the rest of my days missing.

It's a good thing that people are used to seeing me wear my sunglasses inside. God knows why they don't think I'm a junkie. I'm hiding behind them because I'm just not ready to try and come up with an explanation for my red and swollen eyes. And I can't seem to find the energy to care.


"Yelina," I turn to face my sister-in-law.

"What's wrong, Horatio?" she asks intently, not letting me off so easily. So much for no one noticing…

"Nothing. Why?" Keep it casual, keep it calm. But I know the snippiness is in my voice.

"You just seem… distracted… today."

Yeah. And every other day since I first took Tim to my bed.

"Are you sure nothing's wrong?" The worry in her voice adds weight to the guilt I already carry.

"Nothing's wrong, Yelina. Just haven't been sleeping well, is all." Which is so true. How anyone can even think of sleeping when they have Tim Speedle in their bed is beyond me. Of course, now that he is no longer in my bed, I will not be sleeping for a completely different reason. But she doesn't need to know that. "Is there something I can do for you?" I ask hoping she'll drop the subject.

"Yes. Ray Jr. wants you to come to lunch on Sunday. He misses you." I haven't been to Sunday dinner since I first took Tim to my bed. "You can bring Speed if you want."

I blink.

Did I just miss something? "Why would I bring Speed to Sunday dinner with the family?"

"Aren't you and he…?" she blushes slightly.

"Aren't he and I… what?" This is getting embarrassing. Am I really that transparent?

"A couple? I could have sworn the two of you were dating. You seem awfully protective of him lately."

"No, we are not a couple. I'm protective of all my CSI's."

"Yes, you are. But, it's…I don't know...different with Speed. Reminds me of how Raymond was with me."

"I can assure you that Tim Speedle and I are not seeing each other." It's the truth. We aren't. Not anymore.

"That's too bad. The two of you would make such a cute couple. He's good for you, even if the two of you are just friends."

I don't think we're even that anymore. The thought nearly breaks me where I stand.

"He really grounds you, doesn't he? Makes you open your heart again?"

"Hm," I reply noncommittally. I refuse to continue to discuss Tim Speedle and our relationship, or lack thereof, with her. "I'll be there. Sunday. Noon?"

"Make it nine and attend Mass with us?" She asks as she takes my hand in hers.

"You know the church and I don't get along. I'll see the two of you at noon. Your place?" I reply as I gently remove my hand from her grip.

"Of course," she replies with a small smile. I know she's trying to figure out how much of the truth I really told her just now about Tim. And then it hits me.

If she thinks Tim and I are together, then Alexx…? What in God's name does she think?

"I have to go," I say as I start to back away towards my office.

I manage to make it to my glassed in office without running into anyone else.

I'm hoping Tim hasn't, and won't, call Alexx about this. I really do not want to have to deal with an irate M.E. If people think I'm protective of Tim Speedle, then they don't know Alexx Woods. You would think he was her flesh and blood son, the way she coddles him. I heard she adopted him the moment she first laid eyes on him. You don't ever want to see her coming at you after you've hurt her precious Timmy.

"Horatio," I jump a foot in the air at the sound of her voice. Speak of the devil…

"Alexx. What... what are you doing here?" I stutter. Just shows how distracted I am. I don't usually allow someone to see how they've affected me. The speech impediment I suffered from as a kid rears its misshapen head in this least of all desirable places.

"I was wondering if you've seen Tim?" she asks as she approaches where I'm slumped against my door.

"No I haven't." Not since last night, when I threw him out. "Why?"

"He's not answering his phone. Eric says he's got a lead on the case they're working on."

"He called me this morning and said he's taking a personal day." Bad move. Telling her that. Tim never takes time off. Not unless he's dying.

"Why?" She knows him better than anyone, himself included.

"Don't know," I reply as I step around her to walk to my desk. "I didn't speak with him. I was in the shower; he left a message."

I swallow hard on the word ‘shower’. Just thinking about him hurts. One of the last times he was in this office, I fucked his brains out on my desk.

His parents had been visiting and I gave him the weekend off. Three whole days and nights without him.

I thought I was going to die.

He did call each night after his parents had fallen asleep. We had some great phone sex. But that wasn't enough, as evidenced by how roughly I took him when I saw him again.

His parents took an early flight back to New York and he came waltzing into the lab at his usual time, looking for all the world like a Celtic god. The boy just oozed sex that day. Green is definitely his color.

Dark emerald green.

I was looking down into the lab when he glanced up. Our eyes met and in seconds he was at my door. Closing it. Locking it.

"Close the blinds, H," he growled. "I can't wait."

"Neither can I," I was one-step ahead of him. I then proceeded to rip his clothes from his body. I accidentally tore his shirt in the process.

"Damn, H. Slow down,” he protested. "My folks haven't even left Miami International, yet!"

"No," I groaned. "I need you now."

He just chuckled and finished undressing me. Once we were naked I made room on the edge of my desk for him to sit.

"This won't be gentle, or slow," I told him as he pulled himself up onto the desk and spread his legs for me.

"God I hope not. I need it hard and I need it fast. I'm ready for you, you bastard. Take me,” he snarled.

And he was. He'd even prepped himself before coming into work.

God, just knowing that he'd done this, hoping that I'd want him so much I wouldn't be able to wait, almost pushed me over the edge.

"Damn, baby. Do you have any idea what you do to me?" I asked him as I moved to stand between his wide spread legs.

His eyes, and his smirk, said he did.

The sex was fast and hard. We'd both been without for too long for it to be anything else.

"Horatio?" Alexx’s tone suggests she's said it several times.

"Hm? Oh, Alexx. Did you say something?" I ask as I'm pulled from my musings on the joys of sex with Timothy Speedle.

"Yes. I asked if I could hear his message. I may be able to figure out what's up. Sometimes it's more in how he says something than in what he says." She holds out her hand, fully expecting me to hand over my phone. Not bloody likely.

"I already erased it."


I can't let her know. I feel bad enough as it is.

"What have you done to that boy, Horatio Caine?" she demands grimly. Eyes narrowing on my face.

I did say that she's a force to reckon with when it comes to Tim, didn't I?

"Nothing," I have to clear my throat several times. "He just said he needed a day to get some stuff done."

She doesn't say anything right away. Which makes it worse when she does.

"You broke his heart, didn't you?" her eyes narrow even more and I really feel for her kids. I hope they never have to look her in the eye and lie the way I am, now.

I tense as she steps closer. "I really don't know what you're talking about." She reminds me of a mother bear protecting her cub. I didn’t mean to provoke her maternal instincts where Tim is concerned. I am trying to protect myself. Tim is someone I can so easily drown in. Get lost in. I can’t afford to have that weakness. My enemies would not hesitate to use him against me if they were to ever find out how much he means to me.

"Don't lie to me Horatio Caine. I know the two of you have been sleeping together for the past three weeks. He couldn't sit down when he came to brunch last month. And he couldn’t keep the shit eating grin off his face, either. I know my boy's in love."

Her glare is getting darker by the minute.

I cave in to the maternal pressure. "Alright. We were…having sex. But that's all it was. It's over now. And he's better off without me."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Her tone says ‘dumb ass’, but she's too much of a lady to say it to my face. "I know you're not that big an idiot. You're just what that boy needs in his life and he's the same for you. Dumb ass."

Guess I was wrong about her being too much of a lady to say it.

"Now tell me what happened."

"Alexx, please. Just drop it. It's over, and it's best for all involved if he just moves on."

"Best for all involved? What the hell kind of crap is that?" She gets right in my face. I am becoming even more afraid for my personal safety. Not that she'd seriously hurt me, but she can very well make it difficult to walk normally for a while.

"How is he supposed to ‘move on’ while working here with you every day? Are you going to fire him?"

"Of course not!" I can't believe she even thinks that. "I'd never do that. I'm the one who broke it off."

She eyes me coldly, and I wonder if she heard me. "Alexx?"

Finally she answers. "Yeah. I got that. He's been in love with you longer than either one of you thinks and you're not the type to resort to sexual harassment to get what you want. I want to know how this is going to play out, Horatio." She taps her foot. She has her arms crossed over her chest and is giving me 'The Look'. I had better give her the answer she wants.

"I don't know," I say with a sigh. And that's the first completely true thing I've said all morning.

Go here to read the sex scene mentioned in this part.

Author's Note: This deals with some heavy issues, cutting and suicide. It’s very dark, but like I said in the beginning, it totally got away from me.

Speed’s POV:

What did I do wrong? I think as I pace my small apartment wondering why Horatio suddenly turned on me. Come on, think Speed - don't screw up the only thing that is right in your life. Not again. Not the way you usually do.

I try to sleep, but can't. Too many thoughts, too many emotions... everything is beginning to get jumbled. I can't think.

Doesn't he understand I need him? He soothes the demons… the addiction that long sleeves cover in the summer; the one I developed after I got clean. The drugs nearly killed me; cutting helps remind me I’m still alive. When I'm with him I can let go and know I'll be caught, and the pain he makes me feel is so incredibly sweet as he fills me.

It’s been two weeks since I pissed him off. For two weeks I have managed to refrain from cutting myself. The case today brings it all back. A young girl. Looks like someone I used to know. OD. No family, no friends. Track marks up and down both arms.

I go home to my rat hole of an apartment and stare at the razor. I can feel the blade slice into my skin before I even touch it. I pick it up and sit down on the floor. Just one small cut, I promise myself. Just one, then I’ll stop.

The sharp pain is soothing as the tears flow down my cheeks and the blood flows down my arm, reminding me of Horatio’s blood. How wonderful he tasted. How much I want to tell him why I bite him like I do. And why I can’t stop at just one. I never could. I feel the exhaustion set in. I fight it, but my eyes droop and I fall into darkness.

I wake with a jolt - my dreams filled with accusations, cold blue eyes, and blood. I pull myself off the bathroom floor and get cleaned up. The water stings, a reminder of the turn my life has taken. I bandage the wounds - dress in jeans and a long sleeve button down shirt and head to work.

And then, as if life couldn't get any worse, we get our next case. A young boy barely out of his teens - a suicide. Through the investigation we discover his lover had just died in a car accident. His parents refuse to believe it - their son isn't gay - their son would never commit suicide - their son isn't a freak.

I read the journal. My life flashes before me. Lost in pain - a salvation only to have it ripped away. I would have been that boy except I was found in time. I still could be that boy. Because as I look up from the journal I see my salvation and he's walking away from me.

Horatio’s POV:

I look down on the trace lab from my office. I can sit up here for hours watching him - wanting him. My heart hurts knowing I've hurt him. He looks up at me with soulful brown eyes and it takes everything in me to turn away. I'm doing it for him - doesn't he see that? I'll just hurt him more in the end. I'm too intense, I want too much from my partners, they always leave tainted by me. I can't be his addiction. I won’t destroy him like the others.

The case is rough on him I can tell. I watch without being seen. I see the tears in his eyes as he reads the journal. He gives me a brief overview - a broken heart. My own heart contracts from the look in his eyes. I turn and walk away.

He hasn't said anything for which I'm thankful. He's professional and hasn't let it affect his work. I look back down at the lab; it's the only way I can watch him freely. He looks tired and thinner than the last time I saw him, the night I threw him out, several months ago. I turn back to my paper work. Alexx, Calleigh and even Eric have come to me concerned about him. I tell them his work is fine, that I don't have time to deal with Speed's personal issues. I honestly thought one of them was going to hit me. I can’t blame them.

A noise alerts me to someone in my office. I am a bit surprised that I didn’t hear him come in, but then again sleep has eluded me these past weeks. He stands there holding out a file folder. I reach up to take it when something catches my eye.

The cuffs on his shirt are undone and they fall open to reveal the hidden secret. I can see the fresh bandages; see the blood stains on the starched white gauze. I grab his wrist as I stand.

“What the hell is this?” I pull back the sleeve.

He looks at me. “My punishment.”

“For what?” I demand scared out of my mind that Speed is going down this path.

“For hurting you.” His voice is quiet. “For doing something so awful that you can't even look at me.”

His words floor me. “Speed…” I say his name on a sob.

“Please, Horatio. Just let it go. I was just fine before you took me to your bed and I’ll be just fine now that you’ve grown tired of me.” And with that he walks out of my office.

A few days later we get a really…odd…case. A porn star killed by a frat boy who couldn’t get it up with his girlfriend anymore.

When I see him talking to the friend of the victim I just snap. If he isn’t in my bed then he sure as hell isn’t going to be getting into hers.

“Speedle!” I bellow at him as soon as the elevator doors close on the little slut. “My office, now!” My tone leaves no room for argument and I turn on my heel, fully expecting him to follow.

“What is it Horatio?” I’m no longer ‘H’ with him. Every time he has to say my name it’s ‘Horatio’ and it’s killing me.

“What the hell were you just doing, talking to a potential witness? You do realize you could have jeopardized the whole case?” I can’t seem to keep from talking to him like he’s two, instead of over 30 and a level III CSI.

“Yeah, Horatio. I know. I was…”

“If I find out that you’ve gone out with her, I’ll have your badge,” I talk over him. He still belongs to me. No one else. Just me. Yeah I know it’s hypocritical of me, but I just can’t seem to care. I can’t have him and therefore no one else can either. “If you can’t keep it in your pants, then maybe you should take a vacation. I was recently informed you haven’t taken one since you’ve been here. You have six weeks. Starting tomorrow. That’s an order.”

“You want my badge that badly, you son of a bitch? Here. Here’s my badge,” the soft voice is worse than if he was yelling.

As he turns to walk out something hits me in the chest. I catch it instinctively and know as soon as it hits my hand that it’s his badge. I can’t believe he just quit.

“Tim!” I call after him as I hurry to catch up, but he’s too fast for me. I hit the parking lot just as he kick starts his Ducati. I barely have time to get in the Hummer before he’s out of sight. I follow him for a while, until I lose him in the late afternoon traffic.

“Damnit!” I yell as I hit the steering wheel with the palm of my hand and turn around to head back to the PD. I need to reevaluate this.

Speed’s POV:

My heart’s pounding in my ears as I walk as fast as I can, without actually running, through the corridors of the PD.

I can’t believe he yelled at me for talking to Cookie, no, Sara. I know she’s off limits. I told her so. Not that I’d date her even if I could. I still love Horatio Caine. More fool me.

I really wanted to punch his lights out for ordering - ordering! - me to take a vacation. He should just get over himself. I plan to.

As I reach the Ducati, it hits me. What I said to him, what I did. I threw my badge at him. Quit my job. Of course, I can afford to not work for a while, but eventually I’ll need another one. And this one was one of the best I’ve ever had.

The shock starts to wear off and I know that the aftermath is going to be worse than the night he threw me out. The exhaustion is pulling me down. I sit on my bike and rub the heels of my hands against my eyes until I see stars. I feel like I can’t do anything right; everything I do is wrong. Including loving Horatio. I always screw things up. I fight back tears as I realize it’s going to take more than a few measly cuts on my arms to numb this pain. The pain of hurting the man I love.

I kick-start my bike and head out to an area of Miami I haven’t been to in over ten years. This is the only way to stop the memories of heat filled blue eyes and skillful hands.

The house looks the same as it did the last time I was here. But then I expected it to. Nothing really changes on this side of town.

As I roll to a stop in the front yard, two evil looking men step out on to the porch. I don’t recognize them. They must be new. I know better than to move until Marcus comes out to see who has arrived.

“Speed?” Marcus squints at me in the late afternoon sunlight. “That you?”

“Yeah.” I reply.

“Whatcha doin’ here?”

“I need something to help me forget.” A code. He told me when I left that if I ever needed to come back, to just say those words and he’d know I wasn’t there as a cop.

“Yeah? Whatcha tryin’ ta forget?”

“Does it matter?”

“Nope. He’s good, boys,” he turns to the goons and nods in my direction.

They just grunt and precede us into the house.

“Speedy!” My name is called by a very beautiful blonde. Amanda. I haven’t thought of her in years. She’s the one that the young OD victim from a few months ago reminded me of. She’s also one of the reasons I decided to get clean. Eleven years ago, she got pregnant and then miscarried after ODing.

“Amanda,” I say as she hugs me. “Why are you still here?” I whisper in her ear. We’d planned to leave together; it was my child she miscarried. But Marcus wouldn’t let her go. She promised me that she’d find a way to get out.

“Marcus,” she answers as if that one word explains it all. And it does. Marcus is her brother. He’s supported her for years. Started her habit as well. “I’ve got some really good shit for ya to try. Ya up for it?” she asks as she walks backwards pulling me by the hand towards the couches. She licks her lips and gazes at me through her eyelashes, just like I did Horatio that last night. Stop thinking about that son of a bitch right now, Speedle! I order myself as I allow Amanda to settle me between her legs, my back pressed to her ample chest.

“Yeah. Help me forget,” I murmur as she ties off a vein and preps the needle to give me my first taste in over ten years of the drug that gave me my nickname.

The following seven days pass in a blur of sex and drugs. Just like old times.

I can’t sleep, can’t eat, and can’t stop thinking about a certain redheaded MDPD lieutenant. I eventually pass out from sheer exhaustion and wake up some time later covered in naked female bodies.

I’m sure I don’t want to know what happened these past seven days. As I lie there feeling the weight of the drugged bodies, I realize that it didn’t help. I still love Horatio as much as I always did. I need to go home. Home to Horatio.

My phone rings as I start the slow process of pulling myself out from under the tangle of arms and legs.

It stops ringing just as my hand closes around it. Of course.

I recognize the number. It’s my mom. I wait to see if she’ll leave a message and notice that she’s called me several times in the past week. Damn. Shouldn’t have come here. Always forget that there are some people in this world who still care about me. As I start to gather my clothes, I notice my stench. I’m going to need a very long, very hot shower to get rid of it. Forgot that weeklong benders don’t include showers.

My phone beeps to let me know there’s a message waiting and I listen to what my mother has to say. ‘Timothy, where the hell are you? It’s been a week and someone from the lab said you’d quit! Call me NOW and let me know you’re still alive! I mean it, Timothy Michael Speedle! I want to hear from you within the hour or your father and I are coming to Miami to drag you home!’ And with that, she hangs up.

I need to get out of here. Even now, I can feel the pull of the drugs. The high did nothing but remind me of what I’ll be throwing away if I allow myself to go back. Horatio. And the only thing in this world that means more to me than breathing. His respect.

“Speed?” a sleepy voice calls from the direction of the pile of strung out bodies.

“Amanda,” I call softly. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Ya didn’t,” she says as she pushes several body parts out of her way and stands up to approach where I’m standing holding my clothes. “Goin’ somewhere?”

“Yeah. Home,” I reply as I start to get dressed.

“Home’s overrated,” she smirks. “Ya know ya don’ really wanna leave. Ya wouldn’t have come here if ya didn’ wanna be one of us again.”

“Amanda, stop. This is not who I am any more. The high didn’t make me feel any better. It just made me feel worse. I can live without that junk and so can you, if you just try.” I reach into my pants pocket and pull out some money. “I don’t know how much is there, but take it and leave. Now, today. Just get dressed and go. Don’t take anything else with you.” I place the bills in her hand and close her fingers around them. I want to help her. She almost made me a father, after all. I do still care for her. I’m hoping she’ll let me help.

“Tim. I can’t leave.” Amanda rubs her face with her free hand.

“Why not? What’s he got on you?” I ask as I put on my shoes.

“My son. He’s got my son,” she whispers on a broken sob.

“What? When did you have a kid?” I demand, shocked.

“Two years ago.” Tears are running down her face.

“I know someone who can help,” I say as I open my wallet and pull out a card. “Call them. Tell them I referred you. They’ll help. Just make sure you say my name before you ask for assistance. Okay?”

“They’ll help me get my son back?” There’s hope in her voice.

“Yes. If you can stay clean. Can you do that, for your son?” Maybe this time she’ll get the help she needs.

“Yes. I can.”

“Promise me.” She ducks her head and then looks me in the eye with renewed determination.

“I promise.” Her voice is strong. I believe she means what she says.

I kiss her cheek before leaving. I take one last look back as I mount my bike and drive away.

I pull up to Horatio’s house and find his Hummer in the drive. That’s odd, I think. He should be at work. I didn’t want to confront him at the PD. So I chose his house. I have a key. I would have used it immediately if he’d been at work.

No one answers my knocks and he’s not answering his phone. I refuse to leave a message. I need to see his face when I tell him that I can’t allow him to push me away anymore.

As I let myself into his house, I remember that my mom threatened to come to Miami and drag me back to New York by my hair if I didn’t call her back. I dial her number, hoping she hasn’t left yet.

“Mom,” I start to explain when she answers her phone. “I need to tell…”

“My God, Timothy! Where the hell have you been?” she interrupts. “We’ve all been frantic. Your friends at the lab said they’d looked everywhere for you.”

Obviously not or they would have found me breaking the law and the number one rule in Horatio Caine’s book. My whole body shakes at the thought of how H will react to my going back to drugs. Everyone knows how he feels about addicts. His brother was one and it nearly destroyed their family.

“Come home. Please. Let me take care of you,” she goes on, and I can tell the ‘dragging me home by the hair’ threat wasn’t an empty one.

“Mom.” I stop to clear my throat. I refuse to shed any more tears over him. “I really messed up this time.” I whisper as I lean against the wall when my legs refuse to support me anymore.

“That’s okay, honey. Just come home,” she pleads as I slide down the wall until I’m sitting on the floor, my head on my upraised knees.

“I fell. Hard,” I don’t have to tell her what I mean; she knows I’m talking about the drugs. She fought so long and hard to pull me out, I hate to have to tell her that it was all for nothing. That the drugs can pull me back so easily. “I’m sorry I let you down. I just wasn’t thinking. It hurt when it ended.”

“Oh, baby. You could never disappoint me,” she soothes. “How long had the two of you been going out? And why didn’t you mention her to me?”

Damn. How to explain about my relationship ending without telling her it was with a man.

“Just a few weeks. But I’m in love, Mom. This was it. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to jinx it.”

“You still love her?” I can just see her planning the wedding and naming my children.

“Yeah. Have from the moment we met,” I sigh. I just want to tell her, but I’m afraid of her reaction. I know she loves me, but I don’t know how she’ll react to finding out her oldest son is in love with another man. Hell, it scares me and I’m the one in love.

“Well, what you need to do then is come home. Let us take care of you. Get away from Miami and all those painful memories of her.”

“No, Mom. You don’t understand. It’s not like that…”

“I don’t care,” she talks over me. “Just come home, Timothy Speedle. Now.”

“Okay,” I sigh as I realize that fighting her on this will only prolong the agony. I can always try to explain once I’m in New York. “I’ll come back to Syracuse. But just for a while. I still don’t want to work for Dad.”

“That’s fine. You don’t have to. Just let us take care of you. You know we love you, right?”

“Yeah. I love you too.” The tears start to fall as we hang up. The last time she asked to take care of me had been right after I confessed to being addicted to speed. She just took me in her arms, rocked me like I was a little boy, and begged me to allow her to take care of me while I detoxed. It had been a long painful journey back to the little boy she raised. But with her and my dad’s help, I made it. And with their help, I can do it again. I just wish Horatio were here as well.

I feel like I could sleep for days. The excesses of the past week are starting to take their toll.

I decide to use his shower and bed. If he has a problem with that… I can’t seem to find the energy to care.

I pick myself up off the floor and make my way to the bathroom, pulling off my clothes as I go.

The shower feels too good to rush through. I wash myself all over several times, before I feel anywhere near human again. My legs give out after a while and I sit on the floor of the stall letting the hot water wash over me.

A shiver catches me unawares, and I vaguely realize that the water is now ice cold. Hurting like the razor blades I used to use.

I stagger to my feet and turn the water off with shaking hands. My teeth start to chatter as I swipe at my wet skin with a towel. I’m too tired to dry off completely.

I barley make it to the bed before I lose the battle to keep my eyes open and I fall face first on top of the covers, to sleep like the dead.

My phone wakes me some time later.

It’s my mom again. I really don’t want to answer it. She’s just going to be ‘mom’ again. But of course, I know if I don’t…

“Mom, please stop worrying. I’m fine and I’m headed north soon.” I try to head her off at the pass.

“I’m your mother, Timothy. It’s my job to worry about you,” she says on a huff. “Please don’t ride that death machine you call a motorcycle. I’ll wire you the money to fly.”

“Mom, please. I don’t want to fly. You know I can’t stand to be that close to that many strangers. I’ll be fine. You’ll see. I’m going to take another shower, grab something to eat and then I’ll be on my way. Okay?”

“Okay. Please be careful. We love you.” I can tell she doesn’t want to give in on the motorcycle issue. She didn’t speak to me for a week after I bought it.

“Yeah. I love you, too. I’ll be fine,” I stress the word ‘fine’. Hoping she’ll let this drop, at least for now. But knowing that she won’t. Ever. She worries too much.

After trying to eat and giving up when the toast turns to dust in my mouth, I sit on the Ducati and stare at H’s house. The first place that really felt like home to me. Even the house I grew up in never felt like home. I learned to love in Horatio’s house. His arms, his bed. I know that even if I return to Miami, that I won’t be returning to the crime lab or Horatio. I have to start rebuilding the wall around my heart. The one that he destroyed with a look all those years ago.

I take my time driving to Syracuse. I have no reason to hurry. Of course, the fact that I really want to be in Miami in Horatio’s arms has absolutely nothing to do with it. Yeah, right and the sky is green.

I drive until I need gas. I grab some coffee and try to eat again. The sandwich just sits heavily in my stomach. I decide to not try eating again for a while. Forgot that food loses its appeal while coming down off a bender.

As the sun starts to set, I begin to look for a hotel. I finally find a cheap one that looks half way decent.

Once in my room, I have a repeat performance of my shower at H’s. I barely get dried off before falling asleep; face first, on top of the covers.

When I wake up, I realize I didn’t bring a change of clothes. At least the ones I took from Horatio’s are clean. Well, cleaner than the ones I stuffed into his trashcan.

The next three days are repeats of that first one. Only without my trying to eat. I live on coffee and soda. It is the only way to avoid getting sick before I reach Syracuse.

It’s midmorning of the fourth day when I realize I’ve crossed the New York state border. I decide to drive on through. I’m still so very tired. I just want to let my mom pamper me for a while.

It’s noon on the fifth day when I finally pull up in front of the restaurant where my mom and dad can usually be found these days and I’m finally feeling halfway human again.

“Timothy!” my mom calls out to me as I walk in the door and approach where she’s standing behind the counter. She drops the rag she’s wiping down the Formica with and runs around the end of the counter to throw herself at me.

“Mom,” I respond, hugging her back, hard. God, it’s good to be here. In her arms. I won’t stay long, but at least I can enjoy it while I’m here. My mother kisses me on the cheek while across the room, someone drops a plate.

“Be careful!” My dad scolds whoever it is, as he emerges from the kitchen. “That’s coming out of your pay,” he says with a chuckle as he joins Mom and me and puts his arms around both of us. It must be my brother, Joshua, I think as I hug Dad, too. The whole family is here. Or most of it. I feel tears prick my eyes as I think about how Horatio was starting to become like family to me.

“About time you got here. What took you so long? I expected you last night,” Mom scolds me sweetly. The sound of broken china being swept up rattles on in the background. “We hired a new bus boy.” That makes me laugh a little. No one can accuse my mom of being able to hold on to one subject for long.

“Yeah. I’m sorry. There was an accident on the freeway. I got lost when they diverted us.” I explain. “A new bus boy, huh? Really?” I ask as I wonder why it’s important for me to know this.

“Yep. I think you’ll like him. Want to meet him?” Mom asks as she walks back behind the counter.

“Mom, let the boy work, will ya?” I sit down on a stool as she pours me a cup of her famous coffee.

“It’s almost time for his lunch. Oh, here he comes now,” she smiles at someone over my head. I resist the urge to turn around and take a sip of my coffee.

“I’m so sorry about the plate. Will there be anything else before I go to lunch, Mrs. Speedle?”

I know that voice. I hear it every second of every day, awake, asleep, it doesn’t matter. It haunts my every moment.

“No, Horatio, that’s all. Don’t worry about the plate. And I do believe I told you to call me Irene, didn’t I?” I can barely hear her over the blood rushing in my ears, but the smile she bestows on him says she’s already accepted him into the family.

Did he tell them about us?

Mom goes on oblivious to my distress. “Timmy, aren’t you going to say hi?” I get The Look. The one that all mothers seem to know how to give.

I swallow past the lump in my throat and turn to face my ex-lover and ex-boss.

“Horatio.” I really don’t know what else to say.

“Speed.” He seems at a loss as well.

Mom beams at both of us as though she has no clue that I’m looking at the man who holds my heart. “Well, why don’t the two of you go grab something to eat and talk, hm?” she suggests and I blink.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she does know what H is to me. Who would have thought my mother would play matchmaker for me? With a man.

“Speed?” he asks, uncertainly.

“Yeah, okay,” I sigh, knowing that we really need to talk and yet… not wanting to.

We exit the building and approach the Ducati.

“You know how to not fall off, right?” I ask as I mount the bike and rock it level.

“Yeah. Ya hold on.” There’s a gleam in his eyes that I haven’t seen in several months. That’s how long it’s been since he kicked me out of his bed and his life. “Do I need to fear for my life?” he asks as he mounts the bike behind me.

“No. I do know how to drive the speed limit.”

“Really? Then why don’t you do it more often?” Has he been peeking at my record? I know I have some speeding tickets, but they’re all several years old.

“Maybe I don’t like to go slow,” I respond, thinking about our first night together. We definitely didn’t go slow that night.

“Yeah, I know.”

Did you know you can actually hear someone smirk? I didn’t, until Horatio did it where I couldn’t see.

I take the short way to my parents’ house. Driving the speed limit the whole way.

I wonder if he’s ever ridden a motorcycle before. He seems to know what to do. He holds on with his thighs and I can’t help but wish he’d hold on to me. I can feel his thigh muscles bunch with each turn we make. It’s killing me to not slide back between them at every stop light. I wonder if he’s as hard as I am.

The ride is silent for the most part. Neither one of us wants to try to talk over the wind and I know that I need to see his face for this confrontation.

Everything is under some semblance of control, until we stop at a stop sign in front of the elementary school I attended as a boy.

He places his hand on my shoulder to lean up to whisper in my ear, “Is this where you went to school?” His touch is like fire in my blood. The warmth of his chest pressed against my back; the weight of his hand on my shoulder. The brush of his lips against my ear; the heat of his breath on my cheek.

I barely control the shiver that courses down my spine at the reminder of what his touch makes me feel. I want nothing more than to pull over somewhere and let him make me scream. Make me his again.

“Watch out,” he chuckles as I lose my balance and the Ducati starts to slip sideways. He has me so distracted. “It’s a stop sign, Speed. You can go forward now,” he purrs in my ear.

I just blink as I do as he suggests. The rest of the ride passes in silence.

“I can’t believe my parents have you busing their tables!” I wait until we’re almost to my parents’ house. I don’t think I’ll want to say much once we’re there, when all I want is to be held in his arms; to be reminded that I belong to him.

“I asked to help. You know I hate to feel useless. I was just sitting around their house…”

“What? You’re staying at their house?” We arrive just as he drops that little bombshell. Thank goodness. I’m so startled I’m sure I would have crashed.

“When I showed up at their restaurant, they insisted. Well, actually, just your mom insisted. Your dad didn’t seem to care.”

“What did you tell them about us?” I demand.

“Not what you’re thinking, I’m sure,” he says as he gets off the bike.

“Really? Just what do you think I’m thinking?” I ask as I set the kickstand and walk to where he’s standing on the front lawn.

“Look, all I told them was that I’m your lieutenant and I’m worried about you. You stalked off after a misunderstanding after a case...”

“Misunderstanding?” I interrupt. “You threatened my job if I went out with her.”

“I was jealous. So sue me.” He gives a half shrug.

“Jealous? Really? Just how is that possible? You threw my ass out of your house so fast my head’s still spinning!” I really do not want to get into this in the front yard, so I walk up to the door, Horatio right behind me.

Have you ever noticed how much clearer everything seems when you’re beyond pissed? The birds are singing louder than I have ever heard them. The sun is shining brighter and the smell of the honeysuckle my mom planted on the side of the house is so much stronger. Sweeter. It clashes with my anger at Horatio. I can’t believe he’s trying to shrug this off. That makes me even angrier.

“I made a mistake. I’m sorry,” he whispers from right behind me causing tiny shivers to run through my body, making my fumble with the keys.

“Not good enough, H. I need a hell of a lot more than ‘I’m sorry’,” I snarl as we enter the house. “But ya know what? I don’t need it right now. Right now I need you… in me.” This has the desired effect of making him grab my shirtfront to pull me towards him. Our teeth knock together as we fight for dominance, our tongues dueling, snaking in and out of each other’s mouths.

“Shit, Speed. I was so afraid. Afraid I’d fucked up big time,” he says as we break apart to drag some much-needed air into our lungs.

“Yeah, ya did. Now no more talking,” I reply as I pull him in for another long, heated kiss. “Upstairs, now.”

As we make our way up the stairs to my old bedroom, which is where he’s been sleeping, we unbutton, untuck, and unbuckle everything we can. “Can’t leave a trail,” I warn as he starts to remove my shirt before we’re in my room.


Once we’re behind a closed door though, everything is thrown aside in the frantic need for skin-to-skin contact. It’s better than I remember. His hands are everywhere and I swear there are more than two of them. He strokes and pinches and teases all the right spots.

“Don’t want to go too fast,” I say as he backs me towards the bed. “Don’t want it to be over before it’s begun.”

“Oh, don’t worry, baby, it won’t be,” he replies as he pushes me onto the bed and falls on top of me. I can’t bite back the moan of pure pleasure as his weight presses me into the mattress. I chuckle just a little as I realize that this is only the second time I’ve ever done this in this room.

“What’s so funny?” He frowns down at me.

“Nothing. Just that you’re only the second person to fuck me in this room.”

“Yeah? Who was the first?” he growls.

“Jealous, much? My first girlfriend. The night we lost our virginity to each other.”

“Oh, well. Why didn’t you say so?”

“I just did. Fuck me, Horatio. Fuck me through this mattress, now.” I don’t care that I’m begging.

“Are you giving me an order, Detective?”

“Absolutely, Lieutenant. Now FUCK ME!”

“Shhh, Speed. Baby, it’s alright. We got all the time in the world,” he purrs as he fumbles with the bedside drawer. I whimper as he pulls out a tube of KY and squirts some on his fingers. “No, on your back,” he says as I start to roll over.

My favorite position is on my back, so I can look him in the eyes while he fucks me, but he usually wants me on my hands and knees.

“I want to look at you.”

I clutch the sheet with both hands as his talented fingers prepare me to take him into my body. He doesn’t take long, thank God, because neither one of us can last much longer.

“Now, H. Please.” I’m practically crying. I feel like it’s been forever since we’ve been together like this. “I need you. I love you.” The words become a mantra. I say them over and over.

He pushes two fingers into me twisting and turning, trying to find that sweet spot. When his fingers find it, I nearly jerk right off them at the pleasure that courses through me. He just chuckles against the skin of my belly and adds a third. He seems to be enjoying torturing me.

Finally, he removes his fingers and places the head of his penis at my entrance.

I swallow my gasp of pain as he breaches me. He didn’t take long enough to keep it from hurting like a bitch, but the pain soon gives way to pleasure. All too soon and yet not soon enough he’s buried to the balls in my ass.

“God, baby, I’ve missed you,” he whispers as I wrap my legs around his waist.

“Please, Horatio. More. I need more.” I am crying now. I thought I’d never be here again. He was so very angry with me for so very long.

He leans down to kiss me and then begins to slowly thrust in and out. He takes his time. Angling every other one to stroke my prostate. After a minute or two, he changes the speed, depth, and angle. He’s teasing us both, trying to prolong this.

“I don’t think I can hold out much longer!” I gasp as he rises up on his knees and pulls my legs over his shoulders. He begins to really pound into me hitting my prostate each and every time.

“Touch yourself, baby,” he instructs.

He loves to watch me masturbate. I grab my dick and start to stroke myself in counterpoint to his thrusts. After only a few minutes I feel my orgasm approaching and speed up my strokes, which makes him thrust faster. We both come with ear splitting shouts. Thank God the neighbors aren’t home.

“My God, Speed,” he gasps as he collapses on top of me.

“Mmmm,” is my intelligent reply. I haven’t slept in over twenty-four hours and it’s starting to catch up with me. I can barely keep my eyes open. Darkness sweeps over me as I give in and close them, everything fading away except the wet and sticky heat of my lover’s body against mine. Sleep, real sleep, hovers around me like the wings of a bird. I sink into their softness.

“Come home with me, Speed. Come back to Miami.” Whispers follow me into the darkness as I fall asleep.


Where my life with my love awaits. I think it’s time I went there.

Horatio’s POV:

As I exit the bathroom, I am once again struck by the most beautiful sight I have ever seen; the man I love sprawled, naked, in my bed.

Tim is lying on his stomach, one arm out-flung with his hand dangling over the edge, the other curled under his pillow, one knee bent. The sheet has fallen to reveal the curve of one lovely ass cheek. He is so very perfect. How did I get lucky enough to have this gorgeous creature fall in love with me?

Just a few weeks ago, I didn’t think he’d ever be here again. I got angry because I didn’t think he could give me what I need and so I pushed him away. We tried to work together for a few weeks, and then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I forced him to go on vacation. Only he decided to make it permanent. By quitting.

It was after a case in which a porn star was killed by a frat boy because he couldn’t get it up with his girlfriend anymore that I saw Tim talking to the victim’s friend and got jealous. She was young and passably pretty. Just the kind of girl he usually went for. Only the idea of him with someone else, anyone else, made me nauseous. I couldn’t think, couldn’t hear, couldn’t do anything except howl my rage and frustration at his flirtation at him.

“Speedle!” I bellowed at him as soon as the elevator doors closed on the little slut. “My office, now!” My tone left no room for argument and I turned on my heel, fully expecting him to follow.

“What is it Horatio?” he asked as he entered my glass cell moments after I did.

I was no longer ‘H’ to him. Every time he had to say my name, it was ‘Horatio’ and it was killing me.

“What the hell were you just doing, talking to a potential witness? You do realize you could have jeopardized the whole case?” I demanded as I spun around to confront him face to face. I couldn't seem to keep from talking to him like he was two, instead of over 30 and a level III CSI.

“Yeah, Horatio. I know. I was…” he started to explain.

“If I find out that you’ve gone out with her, I’ll have your badge,” I talked over him. He still belonged to me. The idea of anyone else touching him, loving him, the way I had was driving me insane. I knew it was hypocritical of me, but I just couldn’t seem to care. I couldn’t have him and therefore no one else could either. “If you can’t keep it in your pants, then maybe you should take a vacation. I was recently informed you haven’t taken one since you’ve been here. You have six weeks. Starting tomorrow. That’s an order.” I stepped in close, only to have him back up. Out of my personal space.

That hurt. He used to crave the close contact. It was the only way we could touch without others finding out about us. I tend to stand well within the personal space of the people I’m talking to, so no one ever questioned it. But not at that moment. Right then he wanted nothing whatsoever to do with me. And it was destroying me to know that I’d hurt him that much. If I could have, just for a minute, seen past the green haze clouding my eyes...

“You want my badge that badly, you son of a bitch? Here. Here it is,” the soft voice was worse than if he was yelling.

As he turned to walk out, something hit me in the chest. I caught it instinctively and knew as soon as it landed in my hand that it was his badge. I couldn’t believe he had just quit. My knees went weak as I realized I had just driven him away. I had to stop him…make him understand… something I can barely explain to myself, even now.

“Tim!” I called after him as I hurried to catch up, but he was too fast for me. I hit the parking lot just as he kick-started his Ducati. I barely had time to get into the Hummer before he was out of sight. I followed him until I lost him in the late afternoon rush hour traffic.

“Damnit!” I yelled as I hit the steering wheel with the palm of my hand and turned around to head back to the PD. I needed to reevaluate this. What exactly did I need from him? And what was I willing to give him in return?

The following day was even harder than I thought it would be. Everywhere I turned there was someone asking about Tim. ‘Where is he’, ‘when will he return’, ‘is he okay’.

‘I don’t know’ was my response to all inquires. I had to fight myself to keep from sending out uniforms to find him. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop replaying that last fight over and over in my head. If I had just let him explain, would he still be here? Would I have been able to convince him that I need him? Just him. In or out of my bed. I need him in my life.

I ignored the mountain of case files on my desk in favor of staring down into his empty lab. I have always loved the placement of this office. Right over the trace lab. Tim’s trace lab. Before and after I first took him to my bed, I would stand here for hours and just watch him work.

He is like poetry in motion. Every move purposeful. No wasted energy. He brings that same intensity to bed. Every touch has a reason. Every word uttered. Every look. I have never known someone to confound me the way he does. Taking him as he offers himself, wholly, in his entirety, is one of the most intense sexual experiences I have ever had. His pleasure fuels mine. It is part of why I am having a difficult time asking for what I need from him. I need him to put me in that role. The role of making sure the other is pleasured first. I need to submit to him as he has to me, but how do I ask someone as gentle as Tim is to dominate me?

The ringing of my desk phone broke though my musings.

“Horatio,” I growled.

“Lieutenant Caine?” the receptionist asked a little timidly. “There is a woman on the line for Detective Speedle. Says she’s his mother.”

“Why are you calling me with this?” I could not keep the irritation out of my voice.

“She says he’s not answering his phone. Either at home or his cell.”

“Okay. Put her through.” What I was going to say to this woman, I had no clue.

“Timothy! Oh, thank God I found you. If you ever do this again…” she started to scold.

“Ma’am? I’m Lieutenant Caine. Is there something I can do for you?” I interrupted.

“Lieutenant Caine? Where’s Tim?” There was worry in her voice.

“He’s not hurt. No need to worry about that. At the moment, I have no clue where he is. He stormed out of here after his shift last night and no one has heard from him since,” I said a little too sharply. What must this woman think of me? Telling her this about her son.

“Did he do something wrong, Lieutenant? Is that why you don’t seem worried that my son is nowhere to be found?” There was now anger on top of the maternal worry. Have you ever noticed that anyone’s mother can make you feel like you’re a kid again? “Tell me what you’re doing to find him.”

“He is a grown man, Mrs. Speedle. He’s also a cop. He knows how to take care of himself.” He didn’t want me to find him. I was the one he ran from in the first place, after all was said and done.

“Lieutenant, do you know anything about my son’s past?” I could tell by how hesitant her voice was that this was not something that the Speedles talked about very often.

“No. He tends to keep to himself.” And I was not sure I wanted to know about it, either.

“He got mixed up with a very rough crowd after his best friend was injured in an accident,” she paused and seemed to gather her courage. “I know that by telling you this, I’m breaking my son’s trust and could potentially cost him his job. But I feel that you, of all people, should know this.”

“His job is not in jeopardy, Mrs. Speedle. He quit last night. He and I argued about a… case… and he resigned,” I sighed. Whatever she had to say would likely never go beyond this conversation.

“He what? I don’t believe that. He worked so hard to become a CSI.”

“Never the less, Mrs. Speedle. I’m looking at his gun and badge as we speak.” I reached out and ran my fingers over his name on the badge that I couldn’t seem to make myself turn in.

"His badge… I can't believe he would just give up this way, Lieutenant. It means more to him than you can possibly know.” She paused again, and I had the horrible feeling I was about to be told something I would have been much better off never knowing. "When he… his friend was injured, he blamed himself…” Another pause, this time longer, that made my belly twist into knots.

“He…he became addicted to methamphetamine. It’s how he got the nickname, Speed,” she finally continued.

This time the silence between us was of my doing. All I could think of was Tim's furious face as he stormed out of my office the day before. And perhaps back into the arms of a drug that could very well be the death of him. I had to wait a few more moments before I could trust my voice not to betray me. I sat down in my desk chair. Hard.

"I…I always assumed it was derived from his last name. And a problem with the local speed limits." I truly had no idea there was a far more sinister reason for that pet name. The one I cry out as I reach orgasm deep in his body. The name I murmur in his ear as he falls asleep in my arms, afterwards.

“Yeah, that’s my son, for ya. He has always lived life on the edge,” she said with a strangled laugh. “But I’m afraid he’ll go back, Lieutenant. The lure can be very strong. Especially for someone like Tim. He has trouble staying out of trouble.”

Don’t I know it. If ever anyone was trouble on two legs, it was Tim Speedle. “Tell me what you know. Mainly where he is most likely to go at a time like this,” I urged her. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was likely to be bad. Very bad.

“His dealer’s name was Marcus. That’s really all I know. Oh, and Marcus has a sister that Tim was involved with for a while.” She sounded as if this were not the first time she’d relayed this information. But then I guess she’d had to have gone through this before.

“Thank you, Mrs. Speedle. I will pass this information along and keep you informed as to his whereabouts.” I said as I started to hang up.

“Wait, Lieutenant!” She stopped me. “Please don’t let him know I said anything. He’s not proud of what he did after Adam…” She cleared her throat several times before she continued. “But you should know what he went through to get clean.”

“I doubt it’s that important, Mrs. Speedle. All I really need to know is that he got clean once and stayed that way for several years, which means that he can get clean again and stay clean with my help.”

“Never the less, Lieutenant. I can tell by the way you talk about him that you care a great deal about Tim.”

“I care about all my CSIs, Mrs. Speedle. Not just Tim. Now, I’m sorry, but I really must go.” and with that I hung up on her.

After the conversation with Tim’s mother I was driven to do… something. I really had no clue that he had been involved with drugs. You cannot be a CSI and have had a problem with drugs in your past. So either he was very lucky to never have been arrested, or someone cleared his record, keeping it from IAB. I was placing my money on the latter.

I picked up my phone and called the one person I could think of who might have had a hand in keeping Tim’s past a secret.

“Vice. This is Detective Bowen.” Joe Bowen. He owned me a favor. A big one. One I planned on calling in, finally.

“Joe, Horatio. We need to talk.”


“The usual place.” Joe had helped when Ray went undercover. He kept Ray’s partner, John Hagan, out of the investigation and kept me informed as to his progress.

“Ten minutes?”

“Make it five. This is important.” I was desperate to find Tim. When I finally got my hands on him…

“Inpatient, much, Horatio? I need ten to clear my desk,” he chuckled.

“It’s not going to take that long, Joe. I just need some information.”

“Alright. I’m on my way.” And we hung up.

I found Joe without any effort.

“Horatio. What’s up?” he asked as I approached him, slouched on the same park bench I'd met him at the first months Ray was under.

“I need information on a dealer.” I replied as I sat down next to him.

"What dealer?" he wanted to know. His tone was flat, noncommittal, professional façade in place.

"All I know is 'Marcus'," I answered, knowing I was batting a long shot. But I knew I'd hit one out of the park, unexpectedly, when he went still and quiet, the bobbing toothpick pausing in its travels along his lower lip. It was a long few helpless seconds before he responded.

“I can’t do that, H. I have men inside.”

“So do I.” I sighed. Now was not the time to prevaricate. “One of my CSIs has gone missing.”

“Tim Speedle,” Joe replied.

“Yeah. How’d you know?” I asked, surprised. Straightening up from where I was resting my forearms on my knees to frown at him.

"I told you. I have men inside." he shrugged.

"Joe. One of them is mine." It's a confession I didn't want to make, because I knew Joe wasn’t stupid. He could very easily connect the dots.

It was almost a minute before he answered. "You're not the only one who feels some responsibility, Horatio."

That might be as close as I was going to get to a confirmation that he was involved in keeping Tim's name out of whatever reports were filed at the time. It gave me hope that he'd chalk my own worry up to that of a supervisor for an employee.

“You know I can’t let you go in there, H. Marcus is not a nice guy. He’d just as soon shoot ya as look at ya. My guys will not be able to protect you if you insist on going in there.”

“I don’t want to go in, Joe. I just want to be sure that Speed gets his head out of his ass and walks away before it's too late.”

“Okay. That I can do. I’ll contact my guys and let them know to keep you in the loop. I promise you, I didn't pull him outta that place once to let him walk back in and stay.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Joe, thanks."

Silence fell between us for a moment. I didn't know if it was companionable, or if he was busy wondering what my interest in Tim was. But there were things I needed to know. "So…how’d you keep Speed’s drug problem off his record?” I asked.

Joe chuckled. “It wasn’t easy, let me tell you." he left it there, which told me he was of the opinion this was none of my business.

“He's at Marcus’ house right now?” I asked.

“Yes. But according to my men, he’s so fucked in the head, he doesn’t care about anything except gettin’ high. They said he came riding up into the yard like the Devil himself was on his tail.” Joe chuckled at that. “He never did like goin’ slow. Always said that life was too short to follow certain rules like the speed limit.”

“Yeah.” There was nothing else I could say. At least not without giving myself away.

“Yeah," he repeated with an ironic grin. “You need to know anything else?” Joe asked, looking at his watch.

“No that’s it. Thanks, Joe.” I stood up and shook his hand.

“Sure H. Just remember that he did get clean before. He has it in him to get clean again.”

I gave him a little half smile. “That’s what I’m counting on."

“Hm. Never thought he’d be your type, H.” Joe tilted his head to the side, squinting at me in the late afternoon sunlight, shrewdly.

I looked back at him impassively. My feelings for Tim were sure as hell none of his business, and I refused to defend myself. I had nothing to be ashamed of. But I wanted both Tim and I to be able to walk away from this fiasco with our lives intact. And our careers, if possible.

The next several days were pure torture, thinking about another person I love throwing their life away for a few moments of chemical bliss.

I was once again ignoring the mounds of paperwork on my desk in favor of staring down into the empty lab. Tim's lab.

Only this time, I knew where he was. I knew that I had driven him back into his, and my, worst nightmare. I'm not sure I've ever felt more responsible for anything in my life. It forced me to question everything, including Raymond's addiction. One that was only supposed to be for show but turned real. What did I miss? How could I have let Ray descend into that hell alone? How did I miss his pain? His… whatever it was that drove him to use? Is it because I was too busy trying to live up to my role as his big brother? The one who set an example? Did I somehow set an impossible example? Is that what this is all about? Did I set the same impossible example for Tim?

“Horatio.” The ironic laughter in the voice told me that the speaker had been calling my name for some time. "You know, I don't know why Speed always got nervous with you watching him from up here."

Eric. I finally recognized the voice. My spine stiffened, and I drew a breath, refusing to acknowledge his presence.

"Any CSI worth their salt would be able to tell you’re crazy about him." he continued with a chuckle.

I turned around and gave him my best ‘don’t even go there’ glare.

"Calleigh is taking bets on when you two will finally get together." His smile said it all. He really didn’t know anything. He was fishing. Trying to trip me up.

“You’re wrong, Eric.” I replied. "So very wrong." I whispered as I turned back to watch the empty lab. Wishing with all my heart I could turn back the clock and bring Tim home again.

"I am, huh?"

I closed my eyes and prayed that Eric would turn away and leave me alone to contemplate the full magnitude of my crimes in the wretched peace that passed for my office.

"I don't think so, H."

"You have something to say, Eric?" I saw no choice but to face the juggernaut head-on.

"You're not the only one, Horatio," he said, the humor gone from his voice.

"The only one… what?" I asked shortly, my eyes narrowed in annoyance on his face. Couldn’t he see that I just wanted to be left alone?

"The only one who's crazy about him." he sighed.

I stiffened. I couldn't help it. I knew I'd telegraphed my reaction by the soft sound of mingled amusement and resignation from Delko.

"Yeah. Like I said. Calleigh is taking bets."

"I'd suggest she keep her odds-making to herself, if she knows what’s good for her," I said, half choked with the realization that my team had seen what I had so carefully tried to hide even from myself: I am in love with Timothy Speedle. And apparently, they were far less easily fooled than I am.

"It's a little late for that, H," Eric said softly. "Like I said. You're not the only one." He went silent for a long moment, then continued. The implicit meaning in his words wasn't lost on me. "You want him."

"I want him." The words were dragged from me against my will, betraying my most private desires, my fantasies, my lust, my most ignominious of secrets: I love Timothy Speedle. A young CSI I was bound to protect, obligated to supervise, and whose body I should never have allowed myself to become addicted to. And I had failed.

Failed in every way that meant anything. Tim was adrift in a Meth-house, using, doing his best to drown out the agony I'd put him though in the last weeks. God. What had I done? How could I have destroyed the trust Tim had in me? Thrown away the utter devotion he'd claimed to feel for me?

And how could I have made the same mistakes with Tim that I'd made with Raymond?

Stupidity is never easy to confront in one's self.

I finally received the call that I had been waiting for about a week after I talked to Joe.

“Detective Speedle left the house two days ago, Lieutenant Caine,” I was told when I answered my phone.

“Why the hell did you wait so long to call me?” I snarled.

“Lieutenant, please calm down,” the vice detective said, trying to get me to listen to reason. “Something came up with another case and Detective Bowen just now requested that I call you.”

“Any idea where he is now?” I really wanted to rip someone’s throat out. If Tim’s hurt…

“We believe he went home to New York,” was the reply.

“Why do you think that?”

“Because we were monitoring his cell calls and he told his mother that he was on his way north.”

“Thank you. I’ll take it from here.”

“Yes, we thought you might,” the detective chuckled. “Don’t worry about his career, Lieutenant. Detective Bowen told everyone that Detective Speedle has not been anywhere near Marcus’ house in the last ten years.”

“Right. Again thanks. Tell Joe I owe him one this time.”

“I will. Goodbye Lieutenant.” I heard right before the line went dead.

So he flew home to his parents, huh? Made sense. They helped him before so why not again?

I had taken to sleeping at the office, my empty bed just too distracting, but if I was going on a field trip, I'd need more than a change of underwear and a clean shirt, which was pretty much all I had at the lab. I returned to my house to find half eaten toast on the kitchen counter, damp towels on the bathroom floor and the covers on the bed rumpled and still slightly wet.

Tim had been here. While I was hiding in my office, Tim came here to…find me? Confront me? I should have been here.

At the very least, I owed it to him to be there for him now, even if it meant following him back to his parent's home. I placed his gun on the top shelf of my closet and began to pack a bag. I was going to bring him back to Miami, where he belonged, whether he still wanted me or not.

At least, that was my goal. If I could somehow make him see why I'd behaved as I did, perhaps there would be a way for him to forgive me. My only fear was that I’d done irreparable damage to what we’d had. But only actually talking to him face to face would tell me if there was any hope, any love, left.

When I arrived in Syracuse I rented a car and discovered that David Speedle had sold all but one of his restaurants several years before. I also discovered that both David and Irene Speedle could be found at the one they still owned any time it was open. Even their younger son, Joshua, could be found there when he wasn’t in school.

I found a motel just up the road from the restaurant, which was named, originally enough, Speedle’s Place, and checked in.

I went to my room and forced myself to wait until morning before going to the restaurant to look for Tim.

I tried to watch TV, but found I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to Tim. Wondering what he was doing… Where he was… If he had arrived home yet...

As I lay there contemplating what in the hell I thought I was doing, chasing this young man, I found myself becoming helplessly aroused by the thoughts of Tim that chased themselves through my head. I slowly stroked my hand down my chest, stopping to play with my nipples. I moaned low in my throat as I imagined it was Tim’s hand, Tim’s fingers…

My dick had started to harden at the first thought of Tim and now was pushing urgently against the material of my boxers. I slid my hand farther down my chest. Still pretending it was Tim…

When I finally got to my stomach I was so far into my fantasy that I doubt I would have noticed if the real Tim walked in the door and finished me off.

I slipped my hand under the waistband of my boxers and took hold of my hard cock. Gently stroking from root to tip, I pulled the foreskin up and over, playing with it like Tim does. Twisting and pinching… Slipping my fingertip down inside the piss slit…

I reached my other hand down between my legs and fondled my balls, rolling them in their sacks, squeezing ever so slightly.

Frustrated by the restrictive fabric, I pulled my shorts off and threw my head back as I raised my knees, planting my feet on the mattress, and reached a little bit farther between my legs to tease my hole with one finger, slipping it inside to the first knuckle. I somehow managed to shove it in far enough to brush against my prostate. My hips jerked in response.

I stroked my dick harder and faster as I slipped another finger inside and started to fuck myself with my fingers. Faster, harder…in-out-in-out…up and down and around the head, still playing with the foreskin…When I finally came all over my chest and hand, it was with Tim’s name on my lips.

The following morning was nice enough that I decided to walk up the road to the restaurant.

The area was very suburban. Several nice looking neighborhoods surrounded by shopping centers.

I wasn’t the only person walking to Speedle’s Place that morning. It was obviously a very popular place to eat.

The building was a bit of a surprise. It looked like one of those old diner cars with a whole 50’s retro thing on the outside. But the inside had a real nice Mom-and-Pop feel to it. There were pictures of the family on the walls. Well, pictures of Tim and another boy that I guessed was his brother, Joshua.

“Good morning! Welcome to Speedle’s Place!” An attractive middle aged woman, not much older than myself greeted me. She was a pretty brunette. A bit on the short side and slightly plump, but you hardly noticed it, she had such a presence about her. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who right away.

“'Morning,” I responded with a smile that I didn’t quite feel. I was hesitant about meeting Tim’s family. But not nearly as hesitant as I was about seeing Tim again. Would he ever be able to forgive me for the things I'd said and done?

She smiled at me. With Tim’s smile.

So this was his mother. He looked just like her. Same warm brown eyes. Same round face. He even stood like her.

“Table for one?” she asked as she came out from behind the counter.

“No, I think I’ll sit at the counter. If that’s alright?” I responded as I approached where she was standing.

“Of course.” she turned and retraced her steps. “Just let me know when you’re ready.” she told me as I took a seat along the Formica and picked up a menu. “My name’s Irene.”

“Irene.” I replied. “Pretty name.”

She blushed. “Thanks. I’ve always hated it. My husband is always trying to tell me that it fits me, but I never quite believe him.” she finished with a shrug.

“Well, I guess that’s because you feel that since he’s your husband, he has to say that.” I told her with a smile.

“Yeah, I guess.” she blushed again. “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, please.” I couldn’t help but smile again at her blush. She really did look like Tim when she blushed. At least I now knew where he got his dark good looks from.

Once she had poured me a cup, I placed my order for eggs, sunnyside up, some toast and bacon.

As I waited for my order, I looked around and noticed that everyone seemed to be on a first name basis with Irene. She stopped at every table and had something personal to say to everyone.

Most of the kids called her Mama Rene. Made me wonder if she was the kind of woman that started demanding grandchildren as soon as her kids were old enough to marry and reproduce. I started to get nervous thinking about that. I mean, there was no way Tim and I could have children. I wondered just how upset she was going to be when she found out that her oldest son would not be carrying on the family name.

“Order up!” the cook shouted as he rang the bell.

I stared at him, wondering if this was Tim’s father. I saw nothing of Tim in this man. He was blonde, with a fair complexion and a square face. He did however look a bit like the other boy in the pictures. Interesting. One son looked like the mother; the other like the father.

“Will there be anything else?” she asked as she set my plate down on the counter in front of me.

It was a reflection of the rest of the restaurant: generous helpings of eggs, perfectly cooked, glistening with a little grease from the crisp bacon heaped alongside, and 3 slices of golden brown toast liberally smeared with butter. It looked like a meal any mother would put in front of her kids. All of which corresponded to the rest of the homey feel of the place. But the little sprig of parsley perched on the eggs was enough to make my stomach tense up. A tiny hint that appearances were important to this woman and her husband.

The anxiety that had started to build as I eavesdropped on the conversations around me intensified, and I broke one yolk open with my fork, watching the brilliant yellow flow over the warm whites and pool against the bacon. Suddenly unsure of the reception the food would find in my roiling guts, I settled for tearing a slice of toast into bite-sized chunks and sopping up the egg yolk, eating each bite slowly as I pondered my dilemma.

How to ask about Tim without alerting her to who I am? I didn’t want her to warn him that I was in town before I had a chance to see and talk to him.

After I finished eating, and while I waited for Irene to add up my bill, I wandered over to the ‘photo gallery’. The wall between the bathrooms was literally covered with framed photographs of Tim and a cute blonde boy.

“My boys are so very handsome, are they not?” Irene asked from behind me causing me to startle a little at the unexpectedness of her voice.

“Yes, they are, Mrs. Speedle.” I replied.

“Have we met before?” she asked with a frown. Tim even had her frown.

It was just a little bit unsettling to look into eyes that were the exact same color as Tim’s and not see the love, the desire that was always shining in them whenever he looked at me.

“No, ma’am. I would remember if we had.” I smiled my most charming smile.

“Huh.” she grunted. “I have an ear for voices and accents and yours is familiar. Almost as if…” she shook her head as if to clear it. “Never mind me. I must be getting senile in my old age.” she chuckled at her own joke.

I smiled in return. “You’re not old, Mrs. Speedle.” I informed her.

“Oh, p'shaw.” she made a shooing motion with her hands. “I happen to know just how old I am and love every wrinkle that comes with it.” her eyes twinkled with mirth.

I was beginning to fall in love with Tim’s mother and her unpretentious acceptance of the passage of time: most especially her appreciation for that passage. She’d make a great mother-in-law.

“Do you need anything else?” she asked as she turned to head back to the cash register.

“No, ma’am. I’m ready for the check.” I answered as I pulled my wallet out of my pants pocket.

“That’ll be $4.50.” she said as I handed her my credit card. “Horatio Caine…” she read my name slowly off the front of the card. “Lieutenant Caine?” The look she gave me was the same look I’ve seen in countless other mothers’ faces. She was begging me to be wrong. To be lying. ‘Not my child.’ her eyes said. Tears had started to gather in the corners of her eyes.

“Please, Mrs. Speedle. I’m not here to hurt Speed. I just need to talk to him.”

“Police officers eat free.” she told me as she handed me back my card. “Your card, Lieutenant.” she said a little harshly when I made no move to take it from her.

“I can’t not pay,” I responded.

“Police officers eat for free,” she said again.

“Do you do this for all officers?” I asked as I finally took my card from her trembling fingers. “Because of Speed?”

She just nodded. “God, he still goes by that stupid nickname?” she demanded on a sob.

“I’m sorry. It’s what I’ve always called him. It’s the name he prefers.” I replied.

“He’s not here.” her chin went up a notch. She was starting to get her backbone back.

“Would you tell me even if he was?” I put my wallet back in my pocket and settled my hands on my hips, trying for a soothing expression. If I was going to bring Tim back to Miami where he belonged, I was going to need this woman on my side.

"If Tim has been suspended, or is on vacation, then where he is, is none of your business, Lieutenant." she snapped, her brows lowered in a frown. "I don't think it would be in his best interests to see you. Not until he's had some time to recover, emotionally."

“He hasn’t been suspended, Mrs. Speedle. He quit.” I tried to placate her. “I just need to talk to him. Please. It’s important.”

“Then you can tell me and I’ll pass along the message.” If her chin got any higher she would be looking at the ceiling and not me.

“It’s personal.” I shifted from foot to foot, fiddling with my sunglasses.

She titled her head to the side, looking just like Tim when he’s examining evidence.

“Come into the office then. If I like what you have to say, I might tell you where he is.” she huffed as she turned on her heel and flounced away.

I had no choice but to follow.

“Here now, no customers allowed in the kitchen.” the cook informed me as I pushed through the door on Irene's heels.

“David, leave him be. He’s with me.” Irene said over her shoulder, on her way to the minuscule office to my right.

“Who is he?” David Speedle asked his wife, his eyes never leaving my face.

“Tim’s Lieutenant.” she spat the word as if it was an epithet.

“Huh. The great Horatio Caine.” David gave me the once over and apparently found me lacking. “Not what I expected.” he sucked on his teeth before turning back to the grill.

“In here, Lieutenant.” Irene commanded, every inch the furious mother about to dress down a schoolyard bully who'd dared hurt her child. I was starting to wish I had brought Calleigh or Alexx with me as backup.

“If you’ll let me explain…” I started as she closed the door behind me.

“No, Lieutenant, I’ll do the talking.” she walked stiff legged to sit behind the desk. “Have a seat.” she indicated the chair in front of the desk.

As I sat down I could see the wheels turning in her head. I wasn’t sure if she was putting two and two together or just trying to figure out what to say, but either way, it didn’t bode well for me.

“First let me say that Tim’s heart has been broken. I know that’s not any excuse for whatever it is he did wrong, but he's always been a sensitive boy…”

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” I interrupted, suddenly aware that she knew Tim's recent troubles had been precipitated by our break-up… or at least some kind of heartbreak.

“Please let me finish.” she snapped, just like my own mother used to. I immediately shut my mouth, swallowing my next words, and waited for her to finish.

“Now, I know Tim tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, but he tries to not let it interfere with his work. If he let the trollop who broke his heart get in the way of his job, it wasn't deliberate, and I would have thought you, as his supervisor, would have been more supportive of him.” she took a deep breath. “That said, since he has turned in his badge, which I still don’t believe he did-”

At the disbelief in her tone, I pulled his badge out of my other pocket and laid it gently on the cluttered desk, glancing at Tim's mother as I did. I'd hoped to return it to Tim personally, but it looked like Irene was going to do her damnedest to prevent me from seeing him.

She looked down at the gleaming metal that symbolized her oldest child's dreams, anger flashing across her features again. “I don’t know why you’re here. He is no longer your concern,” she went on as if I hadn't just laid her son's future on the desk before her. But as she picked up Tim’s badge, her hand visibly shook.

“I’m here because I care about him.” I had no idea how I could convince her of that fact without revealing that the mythical woman she blamed for Tim's emotional collapse didn't exist. That the responsibility for all he'd gone through in the last months lay squarely on my shoulders.

“Where was that concern when he was getting his heart ripped out by some slut?” she hissed. “Do you know who she is? Because I’d love to give her a piece of my mind.”

I swallowed hard, my mouth dry. But it was obvious that I would have to confess the full extent of my guilt if I was going to have any hope of enlisting her as an ally, rather than as a hurdle between Tim and myself. “Mrs. Speedle, do you remember when you asked me if I knew anything about Sp…Tim’s past?” I waited for her nod before continuing. “Well, what do you know about his present?”

“His present?” she asked her brows again lowered in a frown.

“Yes. Do you know anything about who he tends to spend time with?”

“No.” she tilted her head to the side in confusion. “What does this have to do with anything?”

“Tim’s last lover was not a woman.” I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet. "I was Tim’s last lover.” I had lowered my head as I said the last part: now I peeked up at her from under my lashes.

Irene Speedle had gone quiet and pale. Her mouth was hanging open in a little ‘oh’ of surprise. Then all of a sudden she shook her head to clear it and meet my gaze dead on.

“Well, now. That is not what I expected at all. But I don’t know why it surprises me. He’s been in love with you from the moment he met you.” I could see the speculation creeping into her expression.

“What do you mean?” It was my turn to be confused.

“He was always talking about you. Just like a little kid would talk about their hero. Every conversation it was ‘H, this’ and ‘H, that.’” she chuckled. “I even teased him once about having a crush on you. He denied it, of course." The humor faded from her expression as she pinned me once more with her maternal glare. "So why’d my baby’s heart get broken?” she was instantly back to being the protective mother bear.

“Because I was stupid.”

“Oh, you’re going to have to do better than that, Lieutenant.” she sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Please call me Horatio or H.” I requested.

“Fine. Now explain why you pushed my son back into Marcus’ arms.” she demanded one brow raised in accusation.

“Because I let my lack of faith in myself and his ability to give me what I need override my…” Here I paused. The next words had never been spoken by me about Tim. I wasn’t sure I should say them to her now. Maybe I should wait until I could say them to him.

“Yes?” she prompted. “Your…what?”

I cleared my throat. These words needed to be said. Even if they were to his mother and not him. “My love for him. I love your son, Mrs. Speedle.” I finished with a slight nod for emphasis.

“Really?” she asked as if she already knew the answer. “Then why haven't you told him? It’s in your eyes. I’m sure he knows, but he needs to hear it. Tim…Tim didn’t have what most children take for granted, growing up.”

“Mrs. Speedle…” I tried to stop her, not wanting to hear whatever this was.

“Please call me Irene." she admonished me. Regardless of her faint smile, I still felt like an elementary school kid in front of the principal

“Irene, I really don’t need to know…”

“But you do.” she interrupted firmly. “Tim’s father and I were so very young when we had him and he is so very bright. We were, and to some extent still are, a little intimidated by him. I’m afraid we – I – didn’t tell him that he was loved often enough. He went through something that no one should ever have to go through after Adam…” she faltered. Tears starting to flow down her face she again looked me in the eyes. “Has he told you about any of that?”

“No, ma’am.” I responded, cringing internally.

She nodded. “Well, that’s his story to tell. But I can, and I will, tell you this: I walked through hell to get my son to where he was a few months ago. And I will be damned if I’m going to let you put him right back there.”

I was starting to fear for my personal safety.


“If you don’t intend to treat him right, just leave now and I’ll never tell him that you were here.” There was no room for compromise in her voice, or in her expression.

“I'll love him for the rest of my life.” I stated simply.

She considered this for a long moment, then nodded to herself. “Alright then. Tim should be here sometime tomorrow. You’ll stay with us.”

“I couldn’t.” I objected.

“Nonsense.” Irene scoffed. “Family never stays in a motel.”

“If you insist,” I replied, dizzied by my transition from enemy to family in the space of a heartbeat. The idea of staying under her roof, of being scrutinized by her as her son's lover, left me in a cold sweat. And what Tim's reaction would be to my revealing our relationship I could only guess.

“Of course I insist,” she answered, refusing to take 'no' for an answer.

“Very well then.” I gave in with deep reluctance. “I’ll just go check out of the motel.”

“Horatio.” Irene called as I got up to leave the office.


“If you ever do something this stupid again…” she left the rest of that sentence unsaid, but I heard her loud and clear anyway.

I mentally guarded my private parts as I turned and walked out.

“H?” The sleepy inquiry pulls me from my musings of the past couple of weeks.

“Hm?” I respond, settling more comfortably against the doorframe to watch his ribs rise and fall with his gentle breathing.

“Come back to bed. ’M cold,” he whines.

“Well, maybe you should cover up, then,” I tell him with a chuckle. This earns me a huff and a lazy hand flipping me off.

“Don’ wanna move,” he mumbles as he burrows deeper into his pillow.

“Well, then…” I reply as I stalk him where he’s lying in my bed. “Maybe I can help warm you up, hm?”

I stop just out of his reach. “H!” he complains as the fingers of his right hand stretch out to try and touch my thigh. “I need you…”

“You are such a slut,” I chuckle.

His eye pops open at that and he tries to glare at me. “Yeah? Well… only for you, H. Only for you,” he breathes as a blush creeps over the skin of his back and up to his face.

“Really?” I ask as I climb onto the bed and straddle his hips.

“Yeah…only…you…H…” his breath catches in his throat as I run my hands over the sleep-warmed skin of his shoulder blades.

“Show me how much of a slut you are Speed,” I whisper against his back.

His response is to roll completely onto his stomach and raise himself up on his forearms, dropping his head onto his clasped hands and offering his neck to me.

It's not his neck I'm interested in, though. What I want… is the heart of him. The center of his being, seasoned with my own presence there, earlier in the day. But it's as good a place as any to begin. And I know it will relax him, and heat his blood, so that is where I start.

I trail my tongue down his spine, drawing lazy patterns on his flesh, following it with fleeting, quick kisses, and an occasional nip that barely scrapes the sensitive skin. He sighs his contentment, barely controlling the tiny shivers that rock his body at the feel of my teeth. I smile against his shoulder, but it isn't contentment I'm looking for in his responses.

I don't want him sleepy, I don't want him relaxed. At least not when I get to where I plan on going. So I begin to work my way down his back, tongue and fingers and teeth and lips all in play along his soft flesh. It takes me several minutes to reach the sweet hollow at the base of his spine, the dimples above his buttocks a temptation I can't resist. I sweep my lips over the left, then the right, pressing my tongue into the miniature divots and swirling it over the flesh and following it up with a sharper nip, then a second soothing pass of my tongue and lips.

His sighs are beginning to shift along the spectrum towards arousal. Somehow, I think warmth is no longer an issue. God knows, I certainly feel the heat of him. Solid between my thighs, his legs are muscular and furred with dark hair that tangles with the hair on my own as I ease on down the length of them. "Tim…"

"Hm. Don't stop, H. Please… don't… stop..." His voice has lost that vaguely groggy tone it had a few minutes ago, and the energy in his body is growing.

"Stop? Why would I stop?" I murmur against his right ass cheek, then stroke my hands over both, fingertips settling in the crack and stroking the muscular glutes apart, then bending to dip my tongue into the canyon between them.

I taste him, I taste myself; sweat and semen and lust. The flavors have melded and blended, and like any great recipe, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

He whimpers, a sound so soft it's nearly lost in the pillow he's buried his head in. "No, god, no…"

"Yes," I whisper against his tailbone, then swipe a lick downward. My own semen spices the mix, and I pull his ass cheeks apart more firmly so I can reach the delicate pucker of skin I'm seeking. He’s trying to clench them closed against my sensual invasion.

I lave Tim's asshole with the flat of my tongue, relishing the salty bittersweetness of our recent mating, and the sexual musk fills my nose. My mate.

That's what it is. A mating. My heart belongs to this young dark-haired Adonis, as his body belongs to me. It is my devout hope that by pleasuring the flesh, I can lure his heart to follow mine into the abyss of love.

He gasps, twitching, stiffening under me, suddenly resisting. "God, H, no!" the plea is shamed, and I straighten, pressing him back into the mattress with a hand in the middle of his back as he tries to roll over, embarrassed by my tongue in so private a place.

"No," I warn him forcefully. He is new to this, after all, and the taboos are deeply ingrained into us all from childhood.

I do not love easily. But I may love too well. I know this about myself. But that doesn't mean I can change that basic character flaw. And here, with Timothy Speedle's body between my thighs, all I can think of is the tender, fragile flesh I've felt around my dick, and now want to sample with my other senses. All of them. Taste not the least of them.

"Tim. Speed. Trust me. It doesn’t hurt."

"Not me," he whimpers. "You can't do this, Horatio, not you, dammit! The humiliation…"

"Is imaginary, Timothy," I tell him firmly. I think back to the first time we fucked, my kisses on his ass sending him into a fit of laughter. I'd assumed it was amusement, irony. But perhaps there was just a hint of embarrassment in it. His reaction now would seem to bear that out. "I know what I'm doing, Speed," I tell him gently. "And I know why. I'm not humiliated, there's no reason you should be."

He turns his head on the pillow and I can see the confusion and uncertainty in his expression. It's the last thing I want there. What I want is the same intense desire I feel right now. My balls, dangling as heavily as ripe fruit between his calves, are aching with my desire for him. For this. My cock is hardening, filling with blood and need. And I want his to do the same.

"Do you trust me?" I demand gently.

His eyes actually begin to tear up, and he nods. "With my life." he whispers.

"Then trust me now. Trust that I want this. That you will. I want you, Speed," I whisper. "All of you. I want to explore you with every sense I possess. And possess you with every sense."

He thinks about what I’ve just said. Then he gives a barely noticeable nod of his head before burying it in his pillow again.

I am encouraged by this and return to my exploration of his body. To tasting that most intimate part of him.

As I flick my tongue against his entrance, I feel the tiny shivers that tell me how hard it is for him to allow. He is still embarrassed that I want to do this.

To reassure him, I take my time. Tasting him. All of him. I run my tongue down to his balls, sucking first one then the other into my mouth. This is something he’s used to. Something he can let me do. And I feel him relax even more as I lavish attention on this part of his body.

When his sighs turn once again towards arousal, I lick my way back up to his entrance. He stiffens for the barest of moments before relaxing and letting me do what I want. I am pleased that he can trust me enough to allow this.

Time seems to stand still as I tease his hole, flicking with the tip of my tongue before running the flat of it from behind his balls to the top of his crack.

“H…” he sighs. “Please…”

“Please…what?” I ask against the sweat-slick skin of his ass. “Do you really want me to stop?”

“N…no.” he gasps.

"No. No… what?" I tease.

I run the tip of my tongue back down the valley between his ass checks until I am once again at that wonderful place. The place where he takes me into his body. I circle the tightly furled bud before dipping inside for the ultimate taste.

He stiffens at my invasion, but relaxes after just a moment, groaning when I pull back to gently blow air on the wet skin, watching as he ‘winks’ at me. I smile when this pulls a rough growl of need from him.

“I need more, you son of a bitch. Give me more…” he demands as he rocks back towards me. Offering himself to me. I chuckle before I dip my tongue once again into his hole. Tasting myself on his skin. Reveling in the mix of our flavors. In how we have become one. He starts to pant harder as I fuck him with my tongue. He’s rocking back to meet my every thrust. Grinding his dick into the sheets, a steady stream of crude language, most of it unintelligible, pouring from his lips.

“Fuck, H!” he screams as his muscles tighten around my tongue with his orgasm. I can’t believe I managed to make him come, without once touching his cock.

Several minutes pass before his breathing returns to normal. Several minutes in which I lie between his legs, my head pillowed on his ass, contemplating what just happened.

"H?" he shifts a little. "You awake back there?"

"Hm. Yeah. Just give me a second, okay?" I can't resist the urge to nip him, to mark him like he had marked me on that horrible night when I allowed my uncertainty to override my love for him.

He groans at the feel of my teeth and gives a tiny shiver. "I love you, H."

"Hm. I'm glad. You know I feel the same, right?"

Why can't I tell him how I feel? What is so hard about saying those three little words? I had no problem saying them to his mom, so why does my tongue twist and stumble over them now?

"Yeah." I can hear the disappointment in his voice. He knows I love him, but he must be questioning just how much every time I refuse to say it back.

"Stay here. Don't move." I tell him as I roll off the bed.

"Wouldn't even if I could." he mumbles into his pillow.

I can't help but smile at the picture he makes. Sprawled on his stomach, the skin of his back red from my stubble, bruises starting to form on his ass checks from my fingers…

"My little slut." I murmur as I turn from the bed to walk to the closet.

A few days ago he told me what his favorite fantasy is. And I plan on acting it out for him now. I have taken the day off to be with him. We haven't had much time these past three days, I've had to work. But today…Today I will show him just how much I love him, since I can’t seem to make my mouth form the words.

I reach up to the shelf where I placed his gun before I flew to New York last week. I carry it and the cleaning kit back to the bed.

Tim is like a big cat. He will search out any warmth and lie there basking in it. The sun is streaming in the window and it makes his skin look golden.

"H?" he turns his head his eyes still closed. "Where'd you go?"

"Nowhere, baby." I reply as I climb back into the bed. "Just needed to get something."

"Hm. I could sleep all day." he says with a yawn.

"But you won't." I tell him as I run my hand up his back from his butt to his shoulders and back down.

His eyes open at that statement and he again tries to glare at me. "Says who?" he demands.

I laugh. "Me. In case you haven't noticed I still haven't come."

His gaze burns as it travels down my torso to stop on my erect dick. "Hm. Maybe I can help with that." he murmurs as he pushes me over onto my back before settling on my hips. "Does this help?" he asks as he leans down to lick at my lips.

"Not quite." I breathe against his skin.

"So, what will?" he teases as his eyes darken with renewed passion. "I know!" he exclaims with a grin. He stands up on his knees and grips my dick in his hand.

I can't stop the whimper of need at the heat of his hand on my sensitive skin. "Tim…" I plead.

"Sh, baby. I know what you need now." he purrs as he slowly impales himself on my erect flesh. "Mm. So good, H. So very good…" he moans as his head drops back on his neck and he closes his eyes.

It is all I can do not to grab his hips and slam into him over and over until we're both screaming our release. But I must control the urge to take him. I want to fulfill his every fantasy starting with the one that he was having that wonderful day I discovered how he feels about me.

"Speed?" I call after allowing him to grind his hips into mine for a few minutes.

"Hm?" he responds, blissfully unaware of what I have planned.

"Look at me." I command.

He is slow to comply, but once he does I almost lose it. The love shining in his eyes will be my undoing one of these days, I just know it. "I need you to clean your gun." I state as I place his gun and the cleaning kit on my chest.

He frowns down at me. "Why? I cleaned it just before we argued two weeks ago."

"That was then, Tim. You know it needs to be cleaned every week." I reply as I pick up one of his hands and place his gun in it.

"If you insist." he sighs as he starts to get up.

"Uh-uh." I shake my head as I grab his thighs to keep him in place. "Right here." I inform him pointing a finger at my chest.

His jaw drops as he stares at me, his pupils widening with desire. "Here?" he asks on a shaky breath.

"Mmhm. You did say this was something you fantasized about, right?"

"Not exactly, but it works." he agrees with a smirk as he starts to dismantle his gun.

I try to lie still and allow him to take his time cleaning it, but the heat of him on my cock is too much and I shift every so often. Just enough to make him spill gun oil on my chest several times. "Sorry." he groans as I roll my hips again, causing my dick to rub against his prostate.

"That's okay." I reassure him. "You about done?"

"Almost. If you'd… just…" he falters as I shift again. He's hovering on the edge of orgasm. "There," he says in glee as he finishes putting his gun back together.

I take it from him and lay it on the bedside table. "Now, ride me." I whisper.

His eyes widen as he realizes that I want him to take control. He starts to move slowly at first, but soon he finds his rhythm and the sounds of our heavy breathing can be heard in the quiet of the room.

"Fuck, Speed." I grit out through my teeth as he keeps the pace just fast and hard enough to feel good, but not quite enough to make me come. "Give me more, you bastard." I order as I grip his hips, leaving bruises.

"Just wait." he pants as he grabs my hands, interlacing our fingers, before shifting his legs so that his feet are flat on the bed. He then slowly raises and lowers himself. "Oh, fuck…" I can tell it's just not enough for even him, so I shake my hands free and roll us over until I'm on top. "H?" he blinks up at me.

"Sh. I'll make it good. I promise." I murmur against the skin of his neck before sucking on it and leaving my mark.

His response is to plant his feet on the mattress and thrust up to meet me as I slam back into him. As I seek my pleasure in his body, his hands grip the muscles on either side of my spine. I have a feeling I'm going to have a few bruises of my own when this is over.

I bury my hands in his hair as he leans up and sinks his teeth into my shoulder. He seems to have this need to mark me when we fuck. The pain of his teeth breaking through my skin is enough to push me over the edge and I empty myself deep within him.

I pull his head back and claim his mouth with my own, tasting my blood on his tongue, as I ride him through my orgasm. "Now, Speed. Come for me." I pull back to whisper against his lips.

It's almost as if he was just waiting for my permission because as soon as I start to speak he comes long and hard, the contractions of his inner muscles almost enough to cause me to come again.

As we lay there waiting for the world to stop spinning, my phone begins to ring. "Ignore it, H." he pleads as I shift to answer it.

"It might be important." I tell him as I look at the number on the screen. "Damn. All hands on deck." I growl as I roll off him and stand up to walk to the bathroom.

Just as I start to close the door, his phone rings. "That had better be my mom." he snarls as he picks it up. "Fuck! I'm on vacation." he shouts.

"Not any more, you're not." I say. I'm back in 'boss' mode. "Now get that pretty little ass of yours out of bed and start getting ready."

Speed’s POV:

Horatio has just given me the ride of my life when his phone begins to ring. "Ignore it, H." I plead as he shifts to answer it.

"It might be important." he says. "Damn. All hands on deck." he rolls off me to walk to the bathroom.

Just as he starts to close the door, my phone rings. "That had better be my mom." I snarl as I roll over to grab it off the bedside table. "Fuck! I'm on vacation." I can’t believe dispatch put a call out to me. They know I’m on vacation.

"Not any more, you're not." my ‘boss’ replies. "Now get that pretty little ass of yours out of bed and start getting ready." he orders as he closes the bathroom door.

I lie in bed thinking about whether or not I should ignore the call. I’m on vacation. I don’t have to respond. But if I know Horatio, and I think after all this time I do, he won’t let me ignore it. Not an all hands, anyway.

So I toss back the covers and walk to the bathroom, determined to make him regret ordering me to respond to this call.

I open the door and just stand for a minute admiring the view of my lover in the shower with the water pouring down on him, making his skin glisten. We still haven’t ever taken one together. But today I think I’ll just have to break my own rule.

“Close the door, will ya? You’re letting all the hot air out.” Horatio calls from his place under the showerhead.

I do as he asks and then step into the shower with him, reaching out to lightly stroke the small of his back.

“Speed?” he questions as he turns to face me.

“Thought I’d find out just exactly what it is you like so much about me and showers.” I reply.

“Mm.” he hums as he leans in and gives me a chaste kiss on the lips. “It’s actually the fact that I caught you jerking off in the showers at work. Remember?” he murmurs against my lips.

“I remember. It was the night we both realized we had feelings for each other.”

“Yes. It was.” his smile splits his face. “I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t entered the locker room at that moment.”

“I try not to think about that.” I say as I run my hands down his back to cup his ass. “I’m so very glad you heard me singing.” I run my tongue across his lips causing him to open his mouth and suck it inside, pulling a deep guttural groan of need from me.

“We don’t really have time for this, Speed.” he pants against my neck when we separate to draw air into our lungs.

“Then this had better be quick.” I drop to my knees and lick the tip of his cock. “I just love the way you taste.” I state before I swallow him down.

His fingers twist almost painfully in my hair as I start to bob my head up and down his length while flicking my tongue against the flared head. I want to take my time, really enjoy this for once, but he’s right; we have a crime scene waiting for us. So I take him all the way down until my nose is pressed against his belly and start to massage his cock with my throat muscles. I run my tongue up the vein on the underside and pull back slowly until I can dip the tip of my tongue into the slit.

“Speed…” he moans my name as his fingers tighten even more in my hair.

“Yes?” I pull back far enough to ask.

“Please. Don’t tease. Not now.” he’s panting hard.

I want to take pity on him and end this now, but I’ve only blown him once before and that time was really quick. I want to really taste him. Enjoy having him in my mouth.

I lean back in and run the flat of my tongue along the side of his dick making him squirm and tug on my hair.

“Speed!” he begs. But I can’t find it in me to take this any faster.

As he continues to try and make me suck all of him, I look up at him through my wet lashes. Seeing just a hint of blue from under his lashes is almost enough to make me come right then and there. But I squeeze the base of my cock and go back to teasing my lover.

The taste of his pre-cum is so very addictive. I find I can’t get enough as I nibble on the crown of his dick. When I finally swallow him down again, H’s hips buck hard and I have to pull back quickly to avoid gagging.

“Sorry.” he mumbles as he sags even more heavily against the tiled wall of the shower.

“S’okay.” I reassure him as I once more take him in deep.

I reach up with one hand and fondle his balls, rolling them in their sacks. He moans again and flattens his hands on my head, pushing himself even farther down my throat and I let him, knowing that he’s close. Just as I feel my orgasm rushing at me like a runaway truck, I slip two fingers of my free hand in his hole and start to swallow. He explodes with a shout and gives a painful tug to my hair.

Once I’ve licked him clean and he’s gone soft again, I kiss my way up his body. As soon as I’m standing completely upright, I claim his mouth in a tongue-tangling kiss that leaves us both weak in the knees.

“Damn, Speed.” he says as he breaks the kiss in order to drag in some air.

“Enjoyed that, did you?” I ask with a chuckle.

“You know I did.” he responds with a swat to my ass. “Now you get to take a cold shower.” he smirks as he steps out and leaves me standing under the now very cold spray.

“Thanks.” I reply sarcastically, watching as he finishes his daily routine of shaving and dressing.

Once I’m done showering, I leave the bathroom to find him completely dressed and clipping his gun to his belt.

“Get to the scene as soon as you can.” he says meaning ‘I want you there right after me.’

“Yes, sir.” I answer, barley refraining from saluting him.

He glares at me over his shoulder. I can tell from the glint in his eye he knows I thought about saluting.

“Now, Tim.” he orders as he walks from the room and out the front door.

I sigh as I turn to get dressed. How to make him smile again? I wonder. I know. I can’t help the smirk as I pick up one of my favorites of his shirts out of his hamper.

Eric and I arrive on scene at the same time.

“Thought you were on vacation.” he chuckles at me as I kill the engine of the Ducati.

“Yeah.” I sigh. “So did I.” It's not fair. Horatio and I, we were finally connecting again, at least in bed, and he told me he took the day off to spend it with me. I think I can count on one hand the number of times since I started as a CSI that an 'all hands' has been called. Something is wrong, but I can't figure out what. It's not Horatio, not us. But something is out of place.

Reflex has me scanning the crowds behind the yellow tape, checking out the rubberneckers, looking for anyone who doesn't belong here. Not that I could tell, I guess, since police cars, ambulances, flashing lights and cops always draw a crowd, most of whom never have anything to do with the scene.

“Isn’t this one of H’s shirts?” Eric plucks at the sleeve of the royal blue shirt I’m wearing as we walk across the street to where Horatio is waiting under the bridge.

“Oh, does H have one like it?” I shrug, my attention pulled back to him. “I had no idea.” I play dumb, because I’m not sure if Horatio wants to let anyone know about us or not. Although I’d like nothing more than to tell Eric. He is one of my closest friends, after all.

“Yeah. He wore it just the other day…” he starts to say but stops when he notices the looks of annoyance we’re getting from the other officers on the scene. It’s almost like they think we shouldn’t have a personal life.

“Gentlemen. Thank you for cutting your vacation short,” Horatio says as Eric and I join him under the bridge. The wreckage of the boat is clearer from this perspective. It's obvious that whoever was driving headed straight for the bridge pylon

“No problem.” I respond as I casually look around, pretending to survey the scene, but I'm really hoping to figure out why the hair on the back of my neck is prickling. “So this boat slams into a bridge. Is that a crime scene?” I put my hands in my pockets as I glance over my shoulder at Horatio. The prying eyes seem to be gone, for now.

“Witnesses say that the boat was aiming at the bridge.” Horatio responds, confirming my suspicions.

“All right, we’ll go grab our stuff,” Eric replies.

As we all turn to go about the business of processing the scene, I smile at Horatio, his lovemaking of just an hour ago still as fresh in my memory as his scent is on the shirt I’m wearing.

“Speed, how’s it going?” I can hear the worry in Horatio’s voice even over the phone. He left me and Eric here to finish processing the scene while he and Alex went back to the morgue to deal with the DB. H and I still have a long way to go until we are anywhere near what I would call good, so I'm not sure if his worry is for me, or for the case.

Although the sex is phenomenal; the little aches from this morning's mini-marathon are still present in my muscles. I can almost smell him on my skin, even though we both showered.

“Fine.” I walk a little way away from were Eric is taking pictures of the blood stain left by the victim, hoping he can’t hear my side of this conversation. "So what did Alexx turn up in the post? How long has he been dead?" I ask, sticking to the case until I'm sure what his mood was.

“Alexx says he’s only been dead a few hours. No more than two. Hey, are you wearing my shirt?” So he did notice. I'd wondered.

“Yeah. It looks better on me than it does on you,” I chuckle. “So…” Eric starts to walk towards me so I quickly change the subject. “Frogmen didn’t turn anyone up. I did get some soil on the… uh… point where the shooter went into the water. I don’t know how instructive it’s going to be.”

"I think we have a kidnapping situation here; a six year old boy,” Horatio states.

"Who’s our dead guy?” I ask.

"The boy’s father. And I think the situation went south, so that mud might be our only connection to the suspect,” Horatio informs me.

"I’m on it,” I say with a sigh as we hang up.

“Was that H?” Eric asks as he comes up behind me.

“Yeah. Says our dead guy’s son was kidnapped.” I pick up my camera and start taking pictures of the footprint Horatio found earlier.

“So, the ransom handoff must’ve gone wrong.” he states.

“Yeah, that’s what H figures.” I respond not turning around.

I hear Eric walk away and then he calls out, “Hey, check this out. Ransom could’ve fit in this bag.”

When I turn to face him, he unzips it and pulls out a fish.

“It’s a fish.” Never let it be said that I miss the obvious.

“Might’ve just given ourselves a secondary crime scene right here.”

“How do you figure?”

“I’ll explain once I get back to the lab. In the meantime, you… uh… missed a spot over there.” He points to the side of the boat and chuckles. I just flip him off and walk away, feeling that 'wrongness' again. I can't put my finger on what it is, but a shiver slides down my spine as I crouch down and take a closer look at the dirt the killer left behind.

“All right, which one of you stole my Crime Light?” Calleigh demands as she comes rushing in to the lab where Eric and I are working.

“Well, ‘stole’ is-is very negative. I-I had borrowed it, and I had replaced it, I… uh…I put it back,” I stammer. Calleigh angry is a very frightening sight.

“It would be nice if you charged it first. I was at the scene and it flat lined,” she sighs.

“Sounds like she’s mad at you.” Eric also has a way with the obvious.

“Calleigh, I sincerely apologize.” I place my hand over my heart and give her my best ‘kicked puppy’ look.

“Apology accepted. Give me yours.” She holds out her hand impatiently.

“Go ahead, it’s in my kit.” I point over my shoulder towards the counter. “Hope she doesn’t need her sodium rhodizinate,” I mutter as she walks out of the room.

Eric chuckles and continues flipping through a field guide, trying to ID our fish. “Confirmation. Triploid Grass Carp. It’s… uh… specifically engineered to control aquatic vegetation in the canals. The county dumps them; they eat five times their weight in vegetation.”

“Well, Nemo there is 8 inches long, so he was just released.”

“All right, so… uh… we find out what canal, we’ll be able to find out where our suspect was prior to the ransom handoff.”

“600 square miles of waterway in Miami...” I remind him with a sigh.

“That’s okay, we can narrow it down. The county needs a permit to dump carp, so… let’s enter the carp size to find the date and location of the carp,” he says as I do a search on the computer. It takes a minute or so to spit out a likely answer.

“You got something?” Eric wants to know as the computer beeps.

“Yeah. Canal number 3329 on Newberry Road between 103rd and Fountain.” I state as I pick up my cell to call Horatio with the address. Over the top of the computer screen, through the glass partition that separates our lab from the hall, I watch a few coworkers hustling back and forth between their stations, swerving to avoid someone standing there… just… standing and watching. What the hell is he doing here?

After Eric leaves to help Horatio at the canal, I track down Alexx. Ever since Horatio and I got back from Syracuse, I've had this… feeling. Like in spite of everything we've been through in the last few months, some new disaster is just waiting to drop on us. And the creeps I've been getting all day haven't done anything to ease my mind, either.

I have some things I want to make sure Horatio hears. Some things I… can't quite bring myself to say out loud, as if a kind of primitive superstition will make my nagging fears real if I voice them. But at least I can buy myself some cheap insurance by putting the words on paper and giving them to the only other person in Miami I trust to do as I ask, and hold that letter for me with no questions, just in case… Just in case I can't tell Horatio myself…

“Alexx?” I call when I finally locate her in the autopsy room.

“Yes, baby?” she responds as she strips off her gloves before turning to face me.

“I…uh…” I take the envelope out of my pocket and play with the flap. “I need you to keep something for me.” I shift nervously from foot to foot.

She closes the distance between us, reaching for the envelope, but I draw it out of her grasp before she can take it from me. She scowls at me, crossing her arms under her breasts. "Timothy Speedle, just what kind of game are you playing?" she demands.

"Alexx, I just need… I need your word you won't open this, okay? I only want you to hold it for me. Just in case."

Her scowl goes from annoyed to worried, and her hands drop away, one of them resting on my arm lightly. "What do you mean, 'just in case,' baby?"

"Hold it for me, Alexx. No questions, okay? It's better for you if you don't know."

"Know what?" she asks, and I can hear her concern in the sharpness of her words. "Tim, is this about Horatio? What has he done now?"

For a minute, I almost want to laugh. The irony of that assumption now, when H and I are finally on the same page, more or less, or at least on the same chapter, would be funny if I didn't have the awful feeling that the progress we've finally started making is going to be screwed up. "No, Alexx, no, it isn't H. We're… we're good. I swear. I just want you to make sure he gets this if something happens."

Now the concern in her face has become fear, and her fingers on my arm tighten, hard. I think I'm going to have a bruise. "What are you talking about? What is going to happen to you? Timothy, you'd better start talking to me right now, or I'll go to Horatio myself!"

"Nothing's going to happen, alright?" I try and reassure her, realizing belatedly that her maternal instincts are going to blow this all out of proportion. I don't even know for sure there's anything to worry about, yet. "I'm on my way to meet up with H as soon as I leave here, okay? I promise."

She eyes me; clearly not sure she believes what I'm saying. "You'd better not be lying to me," she warns. "Because I will hurt you if you are."

I can't help the little laugh. "I promise, Mom, I wouldn’t lie to you. It's just this case, you know? It makes you think about things. About what you'd do if you lost someone you love. I just want to make sure that nothing goes unsaid between H and me. And yeah, I know, I need to talk to him directly, but…" I duck my head, looking at her from under my lashes. I'm playing my ace in the hole with her, just like I did with Calleigh, earlier, using the whipped puppy look to its best effect. But hell, I need to get her off track, here, and let me handle this my way. "We have to get there in our own time."

She narrows her eyes at me, not answering right away. Finally, she snatches the envelope from my hand, and this time I let her. "Alright, baby boy, I'll hold this for you. But you'd better be straight with me. And you'd better do the same with Horatio. I care too much about both of you to see you tear each other apart again. Are you hearing me, Tim?"

Relieved, I bend and kiss her cheek, hugging her fast and hard. "Thank you, Alexx," I smile at her with my best little boy look.

She swats me lightly on the same arm she just bruised, shaking her head with a rueful smile. "You are a handful, Timothy Speedle, you know that? Now go. I have work to do, and so do you." She shoos me out of the autopsy room with a flick of her latex glove at my ass.

"I'm going! I'm going!"

“So these diamonds were hanging off the boat?” I ask Eric as I examine the jewels he’s brought back to the lab.

He had gone with Horatio to find the car, then to stop DOI from moving our crime scene and found some jewels that had been knocked loose from the side of the boat when it was moved.

“Yeah. Why? What’s up?”

“Nothing. They’re fake.” I look up from examining the diamond bracelet.

“You sure?” he sounds as if he doesn’t believe me.

“You may be the fish expert, but I know gems. This is the latest thing, laboratory grown diamonds.” I answer, a little smugly. “I did part of my undergrad concentration in inorganic chem. One of my favorite experiments was creating diamonds in the lab.”

“Like zirconium?”

“No, they’re real diamonds, just man made. Fraction of the price of diamonds from a mine. Take a piece of pure graphite and put it in a ceramic box with some chemicals. Then slide the whole thing in a pressure cooker. It simulates the temperature and pressure fifteen miles below the Earth’s surface. Graphite vaporizes. After three days, they pull out the ceramic box, break it open, then you got yourself a diamond crystal. Just like nature only a million times faster,” I explain just as Horatio walks in.

“Gentlemen, are these the emeralds?” he asks as he approaches the workbench where I have the jewels spread out, waiting to be examined.

“Yeah, we were just about to check ‘em,” I reply while trying not to stare. I haven’t seen him much today and it’s starting to get to me.

“Okay,” Horatio says as he picks one emerald up and places it on the microscope. “Wait a second; this emerald has a scrape on it. You can’t scrape a real emerald.”

“What’s the tool mark?” Eric asks.

“It’s not a tool mark, it’s a tooth mark. Look at the striae pattern.” He backs away from the microscope and Eric takes over.

“It’s a chipped tooth,” Eric confirms.

“Mr. Williams got shot for passing fake jewelry,” Horatio states as he walks out of the room.

“That’s not possible. Our jewelry’s real. We don’t own replicas,” Mrs. Williams says, disbelieving, as Horatio and I question her about the fake jewels. We’re all standing in her living room. Well, Horatio and Mrs. Williams are in the living room. I’m leaning against the wall near the arch that leads into what was probably Mr. Williams’ office.

“Did your husband know that?” Horatio asks.

“Meaning what?” she snaps.

“Meaning that it’s possible that you swapped out the fake ones for the real ones and didn’t tell him.” Horatio steps in close to her. I’ve seen him do this hundreds of times. He moves into a suspect’s personal space and they tend to get nervous and slip up.

“You sent him in with a fake ransom. Sounds like a two-fer. Gets rid of the old man. Now you can collect on insurance money for jewelry you never lost in the first place,” I state shifting my weight to my other foot. I really hate stupid people.

“You think that I’d…that I would put my son’s life at risk like that?” Mrs. Williams is starting to get desperate. She’s wringing her hands and looking nervously around the room, refusing to meet my or Horatio’s eyes.

“Don’t you mean your stepson? You neglected to mention that, didn’t you?” Horatio is getting frustrated. He hates stupid people, too.

“We’re a blended family. We don’t use those terms.” she sniffs, her chin going up a notch in indignation.

“You see, the problem Mrs. Williams, is that you’ve withheld information and it makes you look complicit in his abduction.” I watch as Horatio tries to control his temper. There’s just something about crimes against women and children that makes him lose it.

“We got the jewelry appraised last year.” Mrs. Williams walks past me into the office and grabs a stack of papers off the desk. When she comes back out, she hands the papers to Horatio.

“A lot can happen in a year. Now…who else had access to those jewels?” he demands with barely controlled anger.

“Just me and my husband. We keep them in the vault.”

“Did you ever have them cleaned?” he growls. I feel like we’re just going around in circles, and obviously, so does Horatio.

“After events, sure. At McCauley Jewelers.” Mrs. Williams states slowly as if she were speaking to a child.

“McCauley Jewelers, Speed. Thank you.” Horatio walks off without looking back.

I follow him out and get the eyebrow when I step up to the driver’s door.

“What?” I ask. “I do know how to drive a car, H. You’re still a little bit hot under the collar, so let me drive. Okay?”

“Okay.” he nods after a moment, then walks around the Hummer and gets in.

I release the breath I’m holding as I start the engine and pull out onto the street.

Taking a deeper breath, I clear my throat and glance over at Horatio in the passenger seat where he's focused on the city outside the car. The look on his face makes me wonder if he's willing the heavy mid-day traffic to get out of our way, he's so intent on it. Or maybe it's something else he's looking for, I speculate as I catch his eye for an instant. In that split second, the storm clouds clear from his face, and his smile is like the sun breaking through, at least until he turns away again, leaving me feeling chilled by the absence of his warmth….

"H?" I say, knowing I'm interrupting his train of thought. The trouble is, I need to know if he's picked up on it too… "I think this case is weirding me out," I admit reluctantly. I know what I have to say will sound paranoid, but I can't help that.

"How so?" he asks, turning a little in his seat to look at me, a furrow between his eyebrows.

"I keep feeling-" I don't get any further than that when another motorist makes an illegal left in front of us from a cross street, and I have to swerve hard to miss the moron. Horatio is slammed up against the passenger's side door hard enough to drive a grunt of discomfort out of him, and if I wasn’t feeling so freaked out, his reaction would almost be funny.

Horatio Caine loses it. My unflappable boss who usually has the patience of a saint, and almost never publicly loses his temper, swears violently and actually flips the other driver off. She's oblivious, yakking into her cell phone as her Lexus SUV zooms on ahead of us, swerving through slower traffic like a skier on a slalom course.

Never one to take things lying down, or at least not these kinds of things, Horatio calls it in, reciting her plate numbers to dispatch in a clipped staccato that tells me he's royally pissed off.

I guess the dispatcher must have heard it as well, because we haven't even gone three more blocks before we spot her pulled over by a patrol car, a couple of uniforms looking tough as one gets her info and the other keeps an eye on her, one hand resting threateningly on his holstered weapon.

I grin at the sight as we cruise on past more sedately. "Who says there's never a cop around when you need one?" I quip, my mood inexplicably lightened a little by Horatio's temper tantrum. The fact that he actually let me see it, and that it wasn’t me who set him off for a change, leaves me feeling strangely intimate. Like he's relaxing a little and letting it be okay to reveal some of what goes on under that perpetually calm exterior of his. The surge of affection I feel catches me by surprise, and I just bask in it for a moment.

The rest of our drive across town is spent arguing about cars: various makes, models, their pluses and minuses, the people who typically drive them - and my preference for my bike. When we finally pull up in front of the storefront, it's almost as if the subject has become the theme of the day. I fit the Hummer into a spot at the curb right behind a red Rolls Royce convertible that probably costs more than 10 years of my salary.

“Nice Rolls. Bet it belongs to the owner. Cars are such a bad investment,” I snark as we get out of the Hummer at McCauley Jewelers. “I’m just happy I have my bike,” I say, knowing it jerks Horatio's chain. He's just made it clear he worries about me riding the streets without the protection a car offers. But I'd rather have the speed, and the maneuverability, than play it safe. I mean, what's the point in living in Miami if you can’t feel the sun on your skin or the wind in your hair once in a while?

“Someday, you might need something with doors,” he replies as we approach the entrance.

“Well, I got plenty of time for that.” I chuckle, then swallow hard as he gives me the hands-down sexiest look I've ever had aimed my way, bar none.

"Someday I might need you to have something with doors, Speedle. It's damned hard to think about fucking you on that Ducati, unless it's parked in the garage," he whispers, mouth just a fraction of an inch from my ear as he opens the door and holds it for me so I can precede him into the jewelry store.

He's all business as soon as the door shuts behind us, “We’re here to see Mr. McCauley, please,” Horatio tells the man who approaches us when we enter. He has one hand on his hip, the other on the butt of his gun, pushing his jacket back to show his badge.

“Oh, Mr. McCauley is the previous owner. I’m the new owner. Rudolph Koehler; call me Rudy.” He glances over his shoulder at me then turns to face Horatio. “But maybe I can help you with something, officer. I’d be more than happy to help the police.”

I start to look around, willing my body to calm down. Now is not the time or place to be thinking about Horatio bending me over one of the counters and fucking me senseless.

“Yes, I’ve recently been speaking with your customer, Mrs. Tawny Williams,” Horatio says just as I come to a counter top where two female employees are standing, pleading with their eyes for me to help them.

Their silent warning slams the mental doors on the foreplay Horatio and I were just indulging in a few seconds ago as I glance behind the counter, through the glass wall into the workroom, and see a man crouched below a table. My heart skitters against my ribs painfully as fight-or-flight instincts kick in as I try to figure out what he’s doing and whether or not it's a threat. I hear a noise coming from the back room. A noise that shouldn’t be there. My hands begin to sweat and my heart picks up its pace even more. Something is definitely not right.

“Yes, I just heard the news about her husband,” Rudy tells Horatio as I reach for my gun. “It’s tragic. She’s such a nice lady.”

“Excuse me. Speed?” Horatio picks up on my alarm as I make eye contact with him. If I can sense something isn’t right, then you can bet your life it’s gotta be bad. “Stay put,” he instructs Rudy as he starts to walk to where I’m standing with my gun out and ready.

“She and her husband were very good customers.” Rudy continues to talk as if Horatio and I are still listening.

Horatio is now standing near me. As I stare through the glass wall between the showroom and the work area, a door in the back of the workroom slowly opens and a man steps through, gun in hand.

I'm not even sure he's all the way into the workshop before Horatio pulls out his gun. I can feel the adrenaline rush through my veins as I prepare to defend myself and my lover.

“Speed!” Horatio calls out a warning as the man opens fire. The two ladies behind the counter scream, breaking my concentration momentarily. I hear Horatio return fire and I take aim, hoping to provide cover for him. But goddammit, my gun doesn’t work.

I glance down at it in frustrated horror. Jammed? How the hell can it be jammed? Just as that question enters my head, pain explodes across my chest. Horatio and the guy in the back of the shop continue to snap off rounds at each other as I go flying backwards from the force of the round hitting me. My chest is on fire, air a luxury I no longer have.

Breathe. I can't breathe. God, Horatio. Help me... I lose track of what's going on around me, the searing agony in my chest swamping my senses. The sound of gunfire becomes the hammering of my heart, fear and shock chilling my extremities. H, Oh, God, H, please be alright, please!

The roaring of my pulse and the whine of bullets make it impossible for me to tell what the hell is going on around me, and every heartbeat makes it harder for me to focus on anything at all. But out of the chaos, I hear his voice, the terror in it enough to frighten me all over again. “Speed!”

His voice makes it through the haze that's fallen over my hearing, my eyes, and Horatio is suddenly beside me. I can feel him reaching for me, even though he barely twitches a muscle, and I hate the pain I see in his eyes.

Bad dream. It's all just a nightmare, and I'll wake up. I have to. Horatio needs me. I need him. I can't go through this again. The day, that horrible day that first broke down the walls between us, the day he found out I wasn’t cleaning my gun, THAT was real. This, this can't be. It can't. I struggle to draw oxygen into my lungs, and get only the acrid, coppery foam of blood in my mouth.

I cleaned my gun just… I can’t think.

Horatio grabs his cell phone; he must have dropped it in the chaos of the gun fight. His hands and voice shake just a little, but enough to let me know that this is real. That I'm lying here, bleeding out onto hard stone in an air-conditioned room, an eon from the heat and sweat of Horatio's bed. It seems like a lifetime since we were there, together, laughing…loving…

“This is CSI Caine. We have a priority here! I got a man down, shots fired!” he drops his phone to the floor, and I can even make out the clatter of plastic on the hard surface. Odd that I should be able to hear that… but then, the guns are silent. The only thing left is the pounding of Horatio's heart. It matches my own.

He cradles my head in his hand. “You’re going to be okay, Speed. Look at me. You’re going to be okay. You’ll be fine,” he tries to reassure me.

“I-I can’t feel anything,” I say as I choke on blood and try to touch his face just one more time… I love him for lying, for trying to ease both our fear, and Horatio wipes my mouth gently with a handkerchief, pleading with his eyes for me to hang on just a little longer.

I can see his mouth moving, but can't hear his words any longer. The roaring is back, my heartbeat faltering, thudding erratically against my ribs.

“I can’t feel anything!” Maybe if I keep talking, then I won’t die, but I'm not even sure I spoke aloud.

I’m not ready to die.

Horatio still needs me. I still need him.

He leans down and I can feel his breath as he whispers something in my ear. I can’t hear what he says, though I know what it is he's whispering. What it seems I’ve waited a lifetime to hear…

I try to tell him I love him, but instead, I cough up more blood in place of the words I need to say. Fascinated horror focuses my attention for just a moment against the pain and darkness that's closing over me as some of that blood hits Horatio in the face, and he doesn’t even blink.

There is so much I’ve yet to say… So much I’ve yet to experience… I fight for consciousness, but it slips out of my grasp, silence and blackness sweeping over me like a tide. It’s so much stronger than I am and it will not be denied. The light fades into nothingness... and mercifully, the pain goes with it…

Horatio’s POV:

“Nice Rolls. Bet it belongs to the owner. Cars are such a bad investment,” Tim comments dryly as we get out of the Hummer at McCauley Jewelers. “I’m just happy I have my bike.”

“Someday, you might need something with doors,” I tell him as we approach the entrance; I let him walk a little bit in front of me. I can’t help but admire the grace with which he moves.

“Well, I got plenty of time for that,” he chuckles.

"Someday I might need you to have something with doors, Speedle. It's damned hard to think about fucking you on that Ducati, unless it's parked in the garage," I whisper, mouth just a fraction of an inch from his ear as I reach past him to open the door so he can precede me into the jewelry store.

“We’re here to see Mr. McCauley, please,” I say to the man who intercepts us, taking my usual stance, one hand on a hip, the other on the butt of my gun.

“Oh, Mr. McCauley is the previous owner. I’m the new owner. Rudolph Koehler; call me Rudy.” He glances over his shoulder at Tim, who has continued on into the store to take a look around, and then turns to face me, glancing down at the badge clipped to my belt. “But maybe I can help you with something, officer. I’d be more than happy to help the police.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Tim start to move around the store. He heads towards a counter and a pair of nervous-looking female employees and pauses there, his back suddenly tense. I can feel the alertness, the wariness, rolling off him in waves. My own heartbeat begins to accelerate. Tim, for all the hell he's been through in his life, is an innocent in a lot of ways. His sense of self-preservation is remarkably underdeveloped. So if he's sensing something amiss, then we are in serious trouble.

“Yes, I’ve recently been speaking with your customer, Mrs. Tawny Williams,” I say just as Tim shifts position a hairsbreadth to take another look at something, thumbing the snap on his holster open.

“Yes, I just heard the news about her husband. It’s tragic. She’s such a nice lady.”

I can barely hear the proprietor's words over the sudden roar of blood in my ears as Tim pulls his gun, my attention split between Koehler and Tim. In the space of that heartbeat, a routine questioning is going south. “Excuse me,” I brush off the man's words as my attention turns to Tim. “Speed?” he glances back at me and I can see the fear in his eyes. “Stay put,” I order the owner, my whole being focused on Tim as I start to move towards him, placing my hand on my own gun as I do.

“She and her husband were very good customers,” Koehler rambles on.

If the man would just shut up, we could survey the scene, figure out what's wrong with this picture. I try to tune out the chatter as I stop near Tim and realize he has his gun fully out and at the ready.

Tim is even more alert than I am his back rigid with tension. He’s got his eyes trained fixedly on a window that reveals a workroom of some kind and within, a door that leads farther into the store. It opens slowly and a man steps out, using it as a shield as he pulls a gun.

I pull my own weapon the rest of the way out and turn to warn Tim. “Speed!”

I’m just a fraction of a second too late. The man raises his pistol and opens fire. With shrieks of terror, the two women scream and drop to the floor. Reflex kicks in and I return fire, knowing Tim's trying to cover me from his position. But my heart freezes cold as I see him fumble with his gun, glancing down at it with surprise. God, not again! Not again, dear god, no…

I squeeze off two more rounds and the man from the back room goes down, motionless on the slick marble floor. But as fast as I take care of one threat, another man appears from the back, spraying the shop with bullets. I fall to the floor to avoid being hit, then roll back to my feet using the counter as partial cover and fire at him in something barely short of panic. I can't get the bullets off fast enough, though, because he's out the rear door and I'm left standing in the shards of glass, gems, and my life.

"Speed!" the word is strangled, my voice shaking as badly as my muscles are as the firefight adrenaline ebbs, replaced by a different, more terrifying kind of fear.

He's lying sprawled on his back, eyes glazing over as they focus on the chandelier over his head. Blood… blood is everywhere. It stains his shirt front, trickles from his mouth, the red as brilliant as the scattered gems mingled with the glass littering the floor.

I drop to my knees beside him, picking up my dropped cell. “This is CSI Caine. We have a priority here! I got a man down, shots fired!” I know someone is on the other end, responding, but I have no idea what they say. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except Tim.

My hands hover over him, my heart pounding so hard I can see my fingers shaking in time with my pulse. I'm afraid to touch him, to move him. There's so much blood. “You’re going to be okay, Speed. Look at me. You’re going to be okay. You’ll be fine.” The words are more for my benefit than his, and I'm not even sure he can hear me.

Confusion is written on his face, bewilderment. “I-I can’t feel anything,” he coughs, more blood foaming darkly on his lips, the motion making his whole body jerk. He's choking on his own blood, breathing raspy, erratic. I wipe his mouth with my handkerchief with still-trembling hands, my vision blurring with grief. I've seen fatal gunshots. So many times. I know what they look like.

“Hang in there,” I urge him, voice breaking as he reaches out for me. “Speed. Speed, keep breathing. Speed.” Losing him now, again, after all we've just been through… there truly is no justice in this world. Love is so fleeting, and I've let it escape me again. Or had it stripped from me, torn away just as I was beginning to believe it was real. To trust it. To allow myself to feel again.

Tim blinks owlishly up at the ceiling, the overhead light glaring in his eyes, eyes going clouded and dull. But the love in them as he turns his gaze towards mine is as intense as anything I've ever seen. I lean over him, my mouth grazing his ear, warm flesh cooling even now, and whisper the words I've been so afraid to say aloud. To him. I owe him this much. I owe him so very much more. But this is all I can give him, now.

“I can’t feel anything,” he manages, voice strangled and wet-sounding. He’s starting to slip away. I can feel him losing his grip on consciousness, on life.

“I know, I know. I understand. Just hang in, partner,” I plead as I lean back up to stare into his eyes for the last time. He coughs and more blood comes from his mouth, some of it hitting me in the face. “Speed?” I lay my head on his chest to hear his final heartbeat and release the breath I’m holding just as his last escapes in a sigh. “Speed. Speed…” I whisper on a broken sob. “Speed.” My eyes drift shut.

All units. Shots fired. Officer down, McCauley Jewelers.” I hear dispatch in the distance, the words sounding strange, foreign, as if I was overhearing a neighbor's television through a shared wall. “Two fifty-three Adam en route.” My eyes are wet with grief, and I close them on the ruins of my life.

“Speed. I love you,” I whisper again.

Alexx comes over to where I’m kneeling over Tim’s body. “Give him to me, Horatio.” she says as she rubs circles on my back.

I nod vaguely, not really hearing her, still focused on Tim's still body under my hands.

“He needs to go with me,” she says gently. Of anyone, she understands what I'm feeling now.

“Okay.” I whisper. “Okay.” I still can’t believe he’s gone.

I stand and pick up his gun, moving towards Calleigh as I try and get a grip on myself, on the situation. My fingers trace the steel of Speed's gun, now cooling along with his body on the floor behind me, as Alex and the paramedics get him loaded onto a gurney for transport to the morgue. “Hey…Okay, um…I know you to need to start processing the firearms evidence. This is mine…” I say as I pull my gun from its holster. “…and this is Speed’s.” I hand the guns to her, hoping like hell I can let her take the gun out of my hand.

“Is there anything I need to know about the shooting?” she asks calmly, but I can see the tears gathered in her eyes.

“Uh, well…a lot of confusion.” I have to clear my throat several times.

“And?” she prompts, voice a little rough. There's a strange kind of comfort in knowing that she's having as hard a time staying professional here as I am.

“And uh…Speed may have had to look at his gun.” I know she knows what that admission cost me, and our eyes lock briefly before my gaze drops away, vision blurring.

“Okay,” she replies as Stetler walks in to the store and pauses to sign in with the Front Officer.

“That was quick. IAB…” I state as I feel the anger well up within me. If it was anyone other than him…

“I’m out,” Calleigh states abruptly, walking away just as Stetler approaches.

“Okay,” I acknowledge her exit, using the word to buy me another second before I turn to Stetler and have to face his smug certainty that Speed was the agent of his own downfall. I can see it in the man's eyes. What makes it infinitely worse is that he may be right.

“I’m sorry. There’s nothing worse.” Stetler stops near me and offers his insincere condolences.

“Thank you, Rick.” I have to wonder why he’s being so nice, and my voice must betray my loathing of his presence, here, now.

“It’s an officer involved shooting. You know I got to work it,” he reminds me dryly.

“Yes, the body is still warm.” I really hate this man. He wants to start investigating this while my lover is still lying in a pool of his own blood.

“Unfortunately, that’s the best time for me to be here. Where’s Speedle’s weapon?”

“See Calleigh.” I growl.

“And yours?” he doesn’t seem to notice my building anger.

“See Calleigh.” I say again with more heat than necessary.

“You should sit down with a counselor,” he suggests. Does he really think he’s being helpful? Because he’s not. Not in the slightest.

“Only therapy I need is finding the Williams boy, but thanks for the offer,” I say as I walk out the door and meet up with Yelina. We stare at one of the shooters. There is a crowd of photographers taking photos while news crews develop their stories.

“Patrol picked him up two blocks away. He only speaks Bulgarian. Now we’re waiting on a translator,” Yelina tells me.

“I am not going to wait,” I growl as I walk towards Koehler.

“Horatio!” Yelina tries to get me under control. “Film at eleven.” Yelina reminds me urgently as I push Koehler into the side of a radio car.

“We’re live at McCauley Jewelers…” I hear a newsperson say.

“I’m going to put you in the car,” I tell Koehler.

He nods and lets me help him into the car.

“Where’s the boy?” I ask him as I place one arm on the hood of the car and lean down to maintain eye contact.

“What boy?” he asks looking around nervously.

“Rudy…do not play with me.” I am getting really close to ripping this man’s throat out, ready to share my pain with the moron whose hirelings caused it in the first place.

“We swapped stones on jewelry. I don’t know anything about a little boy.”

“You didn’t conspire with Mrs. Williams to kidnap her son. Is that what you’re telling me?” I ask barely keeping my anger in check.

“What? Kidnap? I barely know Mrs. Williams. I may be a thief, but that’s all.” he looks scared.

“Who were the gunmen inside then?” I demand.

“Security, I hire them. But only to protect the stones.” Koehler’s really starting to sweat.

“He goes nowhere,” I order the officers as I walk away from the car slamming the door, heading back inside the jewelry store.

“So this is the palm print that Calleigh found on the trunk of the car?” I ask Eric later at the lab. We’re staring at a computer screen that is running the print against others.

“She’s been searching for a palm print match for hours,” Eric confirms. He sounds like he’s fighting to stay on the functional side of extremely pissed off.

“Okay, Eric. Hang in there.”

“That little kid is out there depending on this box. I hate it; I want to do something.” Eric’s losing hope. This day has been hard enough, but to admit we may never find the boy? That simply isn't an option for me right now. I can't lose anyone else right now. Even if it's a kid I've never met.

“I understand, but this is the course of action. So let’s keep going,” I encourage him just as the computer beeps. It’s found a match.

“Pete Keller. Priors for forgery, embezzlement, fraud, and theft,” Eric reads the screen.

“And now kidnapping. And Eric, if you want to do something, let's get this guy Keller. He’s got the kid,” I order through gritted teeth as Eric’s shoulders slump even more. I want to say something to him about Tim’s death, but I’m not sure what. I can tell he’s not sure how to grieve. I hesitate a fraction of a second before turning and walking out of the room.

Pete Keller runs out of his hotel room and prepares to jump off the stairs just as Eric and I approach with a SWAT team.

“Let’s see your hands. On the ground! On the ground!” One of the SWAT officers orders just as Keller jumps off the railing and lands at the bottom of the stairs.

“Okay, we got him.” Another officer says. “Hands behind your back. Come on hands behind your back, now,” he orders Keller.

“Did you get anything?” I ask the officers as Eric and I stride over to where Keller is on his knees, surrounded by SWAT officers.

“Found a weapon on him sir,” yet another officer tells me. He holds up a .22.

“Ooh. A .22, just like the one that killed Mr. Williams. Where’s the boy. Pete?” I have to really check myself. It takes every ounce of my self control to keep from beating him senseless.

“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” Keller snarls, baring his teeth.

“Got a chipped tooth there, champ.” Eric points at Keller’s front incisor where a chip is visible.

“Yeah, I busted it when I was a kid.” he spits out.

“No you didn’t. You got it biting down on a fake emerald before you shot Mr. Williams,” I say through gritted teeth. “Now, your plan went down south and you had to scramble, didn’t you?”

“Jump ship, get back to shore, get back to the kid. Where is he?” Eric adds in a growl.

“I don’t know. It’s out of my hands now,” Keller just smiles.

“Where’d you stash him?” I have to keep myself from grabbing him by the hair and shoving him face down on the ground.

“Why don’t you ask Tawny?” his smile turns even more evil.

“Mrs. Williams?” I ask, stunned.

“Yeah. It was all her idea.” he gloats.

I just stare at him. Things are finally starting to make more sense. If Mrs. Williams knew this guy before she married, then the kidnapping of Joey just might have been her idea all along. Three million in jewels, even fake ones, is a lot of money.

“I got a hit on Keller’s known associates,” Yelina informs me when we meet in the corridor between her office and the interview room I just placed Keller in.

“Tawny Williams.” I say.

“That’s right, only she went by Sissy Huber back then.” She hands me a file.

“Sissy Huber--Tampa, Tallahassee. Fraud, theft, embezzlement.” I read the impressive list of offences.

“Look at their victims. Rich men in their fifties and sixties.” Yelina points to part of the file.

“Broke their hearts then broke their bank accounts, didn’t she? Let’s bring her in,” I order as I turn and stalk away. I’m getting tired of being lied to by this woman.

“Lieutenant, I mean, really. Shouldn’t I be home in case someone calls?” Mrs. Williams asks as Yelina and I join her in the interrogation room.

She looks like she’s about ready to chew nails.

“Someone like Pete Keller?” I ask as I remain standing. Just like getting in a suspect’s personal space, it tends to make them nervous enough to slip up.

“Your boyfriend…is in custody for kidnapping,” Yelina says as she sits down across from Mrs. Williams.

Mrs. Williams looks over to her left and sees Pete Keller in handcuffs, being escorted past the interrogation room to lockup by two police officers. “Pete did this? Well, I haven’t seen Pete in years.” She appears to be on the verge of tears and not nearly so pissed off, now.

“He murders your husband, he kidnaps your stepson and I’m to believe that you haven’t seen him in years…Sissy? This is a list of known associates and it appears…” I show her the folder. “...that you and Pete have been separating people from their money for quite awhile.”

“Usually older, rich men,” Yelina adds as she leans forward in her chair to rest her arms on the table.

“I ripped off rich guys. Okay? I admit it. We picked them out of the Society page in the Herald.”

“Is that how you found your husband?” Yelina asks.

“Yeah, he…Reed had just been widowed. He was like a prime target. Only this time, it was different. I fell in love with him. Okay? I fell in love with his son. You said I’d been hiding something. That’s it. My past. I’ve been trying to make some changes in my life. People do change. Please find him.” She starts to cry.

“Where’s Joey, Pete?” I demand as I walk around behind where Keller's sitting.

“I told you. Ask Tawny. Although she’s still Sissy to me.”

“Pete, you just got a CSI killed. I suggest you take your last opportunity and talk to me right now,” I snarl through gritted teeth as I grab the back of Keller’s chair and pull it down and back, forcing him to look at me.

This is getting old. I want nothing more than to beat a confession out of him, but I must maintain my self-control. Can’t have Stetler sniffing around anymore than he already is.

“You already got me for murdering her old man. Why would I help you out?” he’s starting to get nervous.

“Because the boy will be killed unless you do.”

“Guess that’ll break Sissy’s heart won’t it?” he asks in one last attempt at bravado.

“And isn’t that, Pete, what you’re really interested in?” I ask as I let him back up.

“Have we processed the envelope with the hundreds from Ken Timmons, the martial arts guy?” I’m hoping Adena has something for me, something to take away the empty space where Tim used to reside.

“Cash wasn’t helpful, but the envelope was,” she tells me as she points to the monitor where some notes can be seen.

“Translation, please.”

“It’s a bill.” she states.

“It is a bill, for karate lessons.”

“The payoff envelope, it didn’t come from Pete Keller.” Adena confirms.

“No, it came from inside the dojo. Which means Timmons and Keller are partners.” I finish as I pull my cell out and walk away. This little bit of information pisses me off more than it probably should.

I can’t stand liars on a good day, and today is anything but. I’m having a really hard time staying in control after everything that's happened today. All these lies have taken something from me. Something I was just starting to allow myself to enjoy. Tim. And his love for me. My love for him.

I clench my teeth as I exit the QD lab in search of Eric. We have a storeroom to examine.

About twenty minutes later, Eric is taking pictures of the cluttered storeroom behind Ken Timmons’ dojo. The man really needs to be taught how to keep a proper storeroom. There is a ladder lying on its side, some papers strewn about and mud and other debris on the floor.

“Good thing he never cleans his storeroom,” Eric comments as he takes some more photos.

“Take a look at this. This is mud. Let’s see what else is here. He’s gonna take Joey somewhere he’s been before, someplace remote.” I point my flashlight at a muddy footprint on the floor near the window.

“I’ve got some kind of sap. I’m gonna rush this over to Trace.” Eric informs me as he scrapes up a piece of sap from the floor near some crates.

“Okay, I’ll be on the cell.” I call out as I stand up and head back outside.

“H, yeah he’s got him in Hell’s Bay.” Eric informs me just over an hour later when I answer my cell as I head out to the Hummer.

“He can’t bring himself to kill the boy, Eric.” I respond the bottom dropping out of my stomach.

Hell’s Bay is where the ocean meets The Glades. It has both sharks and crocks.

“He’s going to let the sharks do it. Now there’s one way in. Meet me there.”

Now that we know where the boy is, I can feel the adrenaline starting to leave my system.

I arrive at Hell’s Bay before Eric and spot a Bronco parked on the side of the road. I park behind it and cautiously exit the hummer, holding my Sig behind my back as I take a look around. If it hadn’t been for Eric finding that sap in Timmons’ storeroom, I doubt we would have ever found the boy. There are no houses of any kind anywhere near where we are. In fact the only signs of human life are the Bronco and Joey huddled on the piece of broken dock in the middle of a stagnant inlet.

“Joey?! Stay right there, son, I’m coming to get you,” I call out as I slowly approach the Bronco to take a look inside, holding my gun at the ready. Timmons is conspicuously absent.

“I’m scared. Get me out of here.” the child cries.

After determining that Timmons is nowhere to be found, I put away my weapon as I head towards where the boy is.

“You hang in there Joey.” I try to reassure him. I look into the water at the bloody button down dress shirt that’s floating on the surface between the shore and the section of broken dock Joey is clinging to. Guess I now know why Timmons isn’t anywhere to be seen.

“Don’t go in there,” Joey warns as I start to slide down the bank to the murky water. It's a risk, but there is no way I'm leaving that kid out there a second longer than necessary. Maybe it's stupid, to be contemplating a swim with the gators and sharks, but the alternatives are unacceptable.

I set down my sunglasses, gun and badge on the part of the dock that’s still standing and step into the brackish and opaque water.

I ease my way along the treacherous muddy bottom, feeling my way towards the dock fragment Joey is trapped on. Suddenly, I stumble and have to struggle to keep from going under. I hear the whimper of horror from the boy and hasten to reassure him - and myself. “That’s alright.” I say, seeing the look of pure terror on his face.

I reach a hand towards him as I approach where he’s sitting. “Come on. Reach my hand. That-a-boy,” I praise him as he reaches towards me. “There we go. Right on my shoulder” I tell him as he climbs into my arms. “I got ya,” I rub his back to reassure him as I carry him to the shore just as Eric and several radio cars arrive. “Code four, Eric. Put it out. We’ve got the primary,” I tell my CSI as he steps out of one of the cars.

As I climb out of the water with the boy perched on my shoulder, I can’t help but feel relived that we were able to find him in time. The warmth of his little body feels nice, but it makes my eyes blur wetly as I realize that I will never have the warmth of Tim’s body in my arms again.

Less than an hour later, back at the PD, the trappings of civilization have already begun to blur and dull Joey's residual fear. He's even recovered enough to be hungry, something I wonder if I'll ever feel again. “Pizza? Okay. Pizza…” I agree to his hesitant suggestion as we walk out of the elevator. “Mrs. Williams,” I say as I see Mrs. Williams standing a few feet away. She looks over with a shocked expression on her face. She seems to be frozen to the spot in front of the receptionist’s desk where she was pacing while waiting for us.

“Joey!” She says in disbelief as she holds out her arms for her son.

“Mommy!” Joey yells as he runs towards Mrs. Williams. I duck my head and turn away to provide them a moment of privacy for their reunion, wishing deep down that I could have a similar one with Tim.

“Hi, oh God. I thought I lost you.” Mrs. Williams sobs as she picks him up for a hug. “Thank you.” she whispers as she turns to face me. “Never occurred to me that Pete was involved. That he would hurt a child,” she continues as I walk over to them.

“Well, Mrs. Williams, jealousy is a powerful motivator. And Pete is going away for a very long time. So you guys are going to be safe now.” I inform her as I realize that the case is over and I can now go home to my empty house. That thought has me swallowing hard around the lump that has been growing in my throat all day.

“I-I heard about your CSI, I’m sorry…really.” she says.

“Yeah. Thank you. Take care, partner.” I blink back the moisture that gathers in the corners of my eyes at the loving picture Mrs. Williams and Joey make, the cynicism and bitter experience of my chosen career and the day's events a painful counterpoint to their joy.

“Thank you,” she says again as she puts Joey down and together, they walk away, a family of two, reunited against all odds. My own family shattered.

Several hours and much too much paperwork later, I enter the empty locker room and stop in front of Tim’s locker. The silence is a balm to my soul. Even though it feels cold and almost like a tomb without Tim’s presence, I find solace here. I touch his nameplate with the tips of my fingers.

“You saved me,” I whisper in anger. “You saved me and then left me alone, you bastard.”

“I wanted you to see this before I gave it to Stetler.” Calleigh says from behind me, startling me a little. “He definitely had to look at his gun,” she whispers as I take the folder she’s holding.

“‘Lieutenant Caine’s weapon expended six rounds. Tim Speedle’s…’” I have to stop to clear my throat. “‘Tim Speedle’s malfunctioned.’ There are many reasons for a misfire, aren’t there?” I ask as I look up from the file.

“Faulty mechanism. Low-grade ammunition. Poor gun maintenance,” she shrugs.

“Designation of any one of those would be speculation on our part, wouldn’t it?”

“We never speculate. Bottom line--the gun malfunctioned.” she states in a flat tone which leaves me in no doubt that she’s as pissed as I am that Tim allowed his gun to get this way again.

“And that closes the IAB investigation, doesn’t it?” I turn back to Tim’s locker. I have to go through his stuff; I just can’t seem to make myself do it right now.

“Yes it does,” Calleigh sighs.

The silence stretches between us until it feels like it might break. Just as I turn to leave she looks up and says, “Now maybe you’ll go to the hospital.”


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