blue flamingos

Making it Through

Fandom: Fandom: CSI: Miami

Category/Rated: Slash, Gen, G

Year/Length: 2006/ ~2753 words

Pairing: Speed/Delko pre-slash

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Some days he wakes up and thinks he might make it

Author's Notes:

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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Speed tells himself firmly that he's not nervous, that he feels too hot and slightly breathless because Miami's a hot place and he's wearing, for the first time in a while, a fairly smart shirt. After all, he knows everyone here, he's spent more time here than anywhere else in the past couple of years, and he knows he knows what he's doing.

It's just – last time he was in the lab, he was being signed in as Megan's visitor, and he didn't have a gun on his hip. That's taking some getting used to, actually, although not so much as the idea that he might have to use it, that someone might shoot at him. He did a rotation in an ER when he was still pre-med, but even there he never really felt under threat.

Speed adjusts his ID again, takes a deep breath and makes his way into the building.

'Good morning, can I – ' The receptionist hasn't even finished asking when someone cuts her off.

'Speed. Welcome back.'

He turns to greet Horatio, resisting the urge to wipe his hands, suddenly damp with nerves, on his jeans. He's always felt a little uncomfortable, a little intimidated by the lieutenant, and he begged Megan to swap her day off so that she, rather than he, would be supervising on Speed's first shift as a CSI and not an observer. She just laughed at him and told him he'd be fine.

Somehow, that hadn't made him feel any better.

'Speed, I need you to join Calleigh down at the harbour. The coastguard have brought in a drifting yacht and the owners have been reported missing.' He glances over Speed's shoulder as he speaks, clearly in a hurry to be away. 'Come on, there's a patrol car heading over, they'll give you a ride.'

He's introduced to the patrol officers and bundled into the car before he has time to ask anything, like what happened on the boat, or what he'll be able to do to help without any kind of kit, but Megan's already said that Horatio's a little stressed out lately, something to do with his bother, and it's best to just do your job and not ask too many questions.

One of the officers points him in the direction of the boat – yacht, whatever it is, Speed grew up in New York and all he knows is that it's smaller than a ferry, though not by much. He doesn't really need directions, the streams of crime scene tape being a bit of a giveaway, but he thanks them anyway. It's ingrained now, after six months of following Megan into places he was only allowed to go because she was the supervisor and no-one liked to argue with her.

There's a small group of cops gathered at the harbour's edge, and though he doesn't see Calleigh there, Speed stops, curious. They're all watching the water expectantly. As he looks over, ripples rise to the surface and a diver breaks through. He gives them a thumbs down, to murmurs of disappointment, then pulls off his goggles and makes his way back towards them.

'Tim.' Calleigh's voice cuts through his distraction, and he turns to see her beckoning to him from the boat. As he moves towards her, he catches the diver looking at him and frowning, just for a moment, before he looks away.

'Congratulations,' Calleigh says warmly when he reaches her side. She's already said it once, when he came into the lab to tell Megan he'd got the job, but they all seem weirdly proud of him, or themselves, he's not sure, for passing the exams. Speed hasn't decided yet if it's a good feeling or not – at the moment it just makes him more nervous, more frightened of screwing up somehow and disappointing them all.

'Thanks,' he says, and she much catch some of his nervousness, because she doesn't say anything else, just runs down the case for him – boat found adrift by the coastguard, registered owners missing, blood in several rooms – and sends him down to the lower levels to take some photos, with strict instructions to come get her if he has any problems.

Photos he can handle, he thinks, looping her camera over his shoulder as he makes his way down the steep stairs. The advantage of being best friends with an art student through high school, combined with Megan finding it boring.

He shakes that thought off and sets about photographing a lounge that's bigger than his – which isn't saying much, considering the size of his apartment – and much neater, if you discount the puddles and smears of blood. On balance, Speed's pretty sure he'd take jackets thrown over chairs, unpacked boxes and a couple of unwashed coffee mugs.

When he's shot his way through nearly an entire roll of film, Speed makes his way back up to the deck, looking for Calleigh. He doesn't need her to tell him to do next, but if he's going to do it, he's going to need some kind of kit, having been pushed out to the scene with nothing more useful than a couple of pens in his shirt pocket.

He hears someone moving further in the boat and heads that way, already speaking. 'Calleigh, what do you -? Oh.'

As he steps into the kitchen, the person in there, who is decidedly not Calleigh, turns around, and Speed comes to an abrupt halt. It's the diver he saw on his way in, only now he's dressed again, still-damp hair slicked back, and Speed's not sure if his brain is short-circuiting because the man is easily one of the most attractive men he's seen in a while, or because, back on dry land, he looks so much like someone Speed used to know.

The man's also looking at him extremely strangely, like the frown from the harbour, though this time it's maybe not so much of a surprise, considering Speed's come to a dead halt in the doorway and is now staring at him without saying anything.

He shakes himself out of it as well as he can and holds out a hand. 'Tim Speedle, CSI.'

The other man raises one hand, but doesn't take Speed's, and he belatedly notices that the man is wearing gloves. 'Eric. Delko.' He pauses, then adds, 'CSI,' and smiles, so Speed doesn't feel like quite such an idiot. So much for being observant. 'You're new?'

'First day,' Speed tells him, not wanting to get into the details of exactly how new to the Miami-Dade crime lab he really is, especially with someone he's only just met but who frowns at him most of the time.

'H said you were coming,' Eric says. 'Good to meet you.'

'You too,' Speed says, though he's not sure yet if that's true or not. Eric seems nice enough, but he looks so much like the memories Speed came to Miami to escape that he's finding it hard to concentrate around the man, and suddenly wants to be out of there. 'Have you seen Calleigh around?'

'Try up on deck,' Eric suggests, turning back to the swabs he's taking. 'She went to talk to the Harbour Patrol.'

'Thanks.'

Speed's grateful to be out of the boat and in the sunshine again. It's what he likes about Miami, the almost constant heat and sun that drive away things he doesn't want to think about, even if they have suddenly brought him face to face with one of those very things. Eric's really does look unnervingly like Daniel, if Speed thinks about before the accident. He tries to imagine working with that familiar face every day, and his whole body feels twitchy, like he's had too much coffee and the caffeine is burning through his blood too fast. He itches to be away, from the boat, from Eric, from Miami and even the east coast, Florida suddenly not far enough, but back on the road, going too fast on his bike round unfamiliar bends, the urge to run so strong his hands are shaking when he raises one to stop Calleigh's camera slipping off his shoulder and into the water.

He forces himself to take a deep breath and calm down, wishing once more that Megan was here. He's never talked to her about Daniel, about how he ended up in Miami, but he's sure Daniel's uncle's told her some of the story, must have done when Speed started trailing into the crime lab with him, just to get Megan to take him along with her.

But she's not here and it's his first day, and he's promised both her and Jack that he won't lose it and take off again. He forces in another breath, and makes his way over to Calleigh, who gives him an odd look but says nothing, just sends him off with her kit to start processing the lower rooms in the boat.

As he walks back through the boat, he hears Eric moving in the next room and speeds up.

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The morning drags on, and Speed manages to mostly lose himself in what he's doing, only occasionally remembering Eric when he hears movement in the upper floors of the boat. Calleigh gets called away to the owners' house, leaving him and Eric to finished processing the boat, telling Speed to call Eric if he has any problems. Speed assures her he will, but knows he won't, no matter what happens.

The work is detailed, requiring his concentration, but he loses himself in it more and more as he goes on, the noise of the harbour, the police cars and Eric moving above him all fading away until it's just him and the evidence before him.

When he eventually looks at his watch, he's been there three hours and the boat has gone not just quiet but completely still. He has no idea how long it's been like that, and as soon as he realises, he could kick himself. It's the first thing he was taught in basic training, the importance of being aware of what's happening around you at all times; it is, after all, a crime scene. Not a great start to the day.

He hears someone moving upstairs and hesitates a moment. It must be Eric, but it takes Speed a moment to convince himself he should go up and speak to him.

Not that it matters, because when he gets up there there's no-one there. He steps out onto the deck, because he may have been distracted but he doesn't hear things. Not any more, anyway.

There's no-one on the deck either, and no sign of anyone on the dock. Speed makes his way round the deck slowly. Something suddenly feels off, though he can't actually put his finger on what it is.

He's walked all the way round the boat twice and is stepping over the railing to go look for Eric along the dock when movement catches the edge of his vision. He gets his hand up to defend himself, but it's not fast enough, and a body slams into him, sending them both backwards off the boat. Speed's whole body jars as his back slams into the deck, and for a second he's anywhere but the sunny, warm harbour in Miami. He's crashing down hard into well-packed snow, snow mobile whirring somewhere near him, Daniel screaming just out of his reach...

It takes everything he has in that moment not to shiver in the cold, to push himself up and grab hold of the person who slammed into him. Not that it helps him a great deal, because the guy on top of him is much heavier and Speed can't push him off. Probably can't keep hold, either, which is the more pressing problem, the guy jerking against him.

'Let go,' the guy growls, and Speed resists the temptation to roll his eyes – as if he's going to just say OK when the guy leapt on him at a crime scene. 'Let go of me.'

He jerks hard enough to lift Speed up off the ground, and when Speed pulls back, his head slams hard into the wooden boards. Everything swirls out of focus, the guy jerks against his loosening grip again and Speed can't hold on.

It doesn't matter though, because there are running footsteps coming towards him, hands lifting the guy away from him, and for a moment, Speed drifts away from all of it.

Some mornings he wakes up and thinks it might one day be OK, that he might one day make it past Daniel and the accident and him dying.

Some mornings he wakes up and it's all he can do to force himself out of bed and into school or work. Those are the days when he doesn't want to be around anyone and snaps at everyone who tries to ask what's wrong.

Some mornings he wakes up when it's still dark, gasping for breath, his face wet with tears and his hands itching towards the keys to his bike. Those are the days he finds himself going too fast along unfamiliar Florida highways and doesn't remember how he got there.

There are hands on him now, shaking him back to reality and he remembers this was a good day when woke up. His head hurts and he'd like to push the hands away, but they're familiar, a reminder of something important he has to get back to.

When he opens his eyes, the face is familiar as well, drawn into a concerned frown. He stops himself just before he says Daniel's name.

'Tim, man, you all right?' Eric asks. His hands still on Tim's shoulders, no longer shaking him, but he doesn't remove them, and the concern doesn't leave his eyes. He should look more like Daniel like that, Daniel was always worrying about Speed when they were together, but it changes his whole face, until Speed can't remember why he thought he saw a resemblance. Maybe because Eric's the most attractive man he's seen since Daniel, and suddenly it seems like not only does he think he might make it, he actually, for the first time, believes he will.

'Tim,' Eric says again, frustration creeping into his voice. 'You all right?'

Speed raises his head slightly, groaning at the rush of pain when he does. Eric helps him sit up, runs his fingers round the back of Speed's head and he's not sure if he's shivering from memories or Eric's touch or both.

'No blood, but you're gonna have one hell of a bruise tomorrow.' Eric grins.

'Thanks,' Speed says dryly, feeling for himself. 'Who was that guy?'

Eric glances at something Speed can't see without turning his head, the other cops, maybe. 'Probably our suspect, Calleigh rang and said they found evidence of some kind of struggle in the house, but no sign of the husband. I was just heading back to tell you, but I guess you didn't need me.'

'Great,' Speed says, not sure if he means it or not as he touches the bump he can already feel forming at the back of his head. Eric laughs, his eyes lighting up with amusement and Speed feels a little light-headed. He tells himself firmly that it's just because he's been thrown off a boat and hit on the head in rapid succession.

'You know,' Eric says thoughtfully, 'you've got a gun for a reason. It's supposed to stop people jumping on you at crime scenes.'

Speed glances down, uncomfortable, because he didn't even think of that, and it doesn't matter how attractive he thinks Eric is, he doesn't talk about this sort of thing, about himself, to anyone.

'So, er, how long have you been with CSI?' he asks instead.

Eric blinks at him, clearly thrown by the abrupt change of subject, but he recovers fast. 'Three months. I was with Underwater Recovery before that.'

That's why he looks familiar, Speed realises – he saw him at a crime scene once.

'Megan said you worked here before,' Eric offers. Speed nods. He knows Megan won't have told Eric anymore, but he's not here to satisfy other people's curiosity about him. 'Why does everyone call you Speed?' Eric asks.

'I have a bike,' Speed says, smiling a little. Eric grins back, his hand still on Speed's shoulder and, for the first time in a long time, Speed can see some kind of future before him.


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