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Summary: How far would someone go to get what they want?

Updated: 03 Jun 2005; Published: 08 Feb 2005

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Disclaimer: They are owned by various executives, producers and CBS. I'm just borrowing them for a few moments and sending them back to the lab where they belong. Because we all know if I owned them Speed would be very much alive.

Beta: Calypso – thank you thank you thank you

Warning: This story deals with violence and rape – please be warned a head of time that the subject matter can be sensitive and not for everyone.


Horatio leaned against the back wall behind the lab trying to get his emotions under control. He could feel the tears on the brink of falling, but refused to let them fall – not now, not when he had a lost son to find. His heart ached at the sudden feeling of loneliness; he took a deep breath gaining control of his fluctuating emotions.

His cell phone brought him back to reality. "Caine," his voice was once again calm and collected.

"Horatio I need you down in the morgue," Alexx voice was thick with emotion, "Now."

"Is there a problem?" Horatio asked as he headed for the back door.

"You could say that," He could hear Alexx taking slow deep breathes.

"I'll be there in a few," Horatio hung the phone up, concerned at Alexx's behavior.

He walked into the morgue to find Eric and Calleigh already there, neither of them looking over at Speed's laid out body. His eyes passed over the still form and he forced himself not to respond. Hands on his hips he turned towards Alexx.

"Alexx?" Horatio voice was tight. "What seems to be the problem?"

Alexx looked at the three of them, with tears in her eyes. Her hands gestured towards Speed's body, "That's not Speed."

Horatio would be the first to admit that little shocked him, but this..."What?"

"That's not Speed," She set her hands on her hips. "In the middle of the autopsy I noticed something was missing."

"What was missing?" Calleigh asked confused and shocked.

"His tattoo," Alexx walked over to the body, turning him on his side, "Speed had a tattoo on the back of his shoulder, of a cheetah with Speed written out."

Horatio took the few steps to the autopsy table looking at the smooth back, "There's no sign of removal."

"Obviously, this concerned me so I printed him, and had it run through the system," Alexx sat back against the counter. "A match came up," Eric took the piece of paper out of her hand.

"Robert Jackson," Eric spoke for the first time. "I can see the resemblance, but..."

"After getting those results, I started on a more thorough exam," Alexx walked over to the light board. She flipped the switch showing x-rays of the man's skull and face. "See these marks, recent plastic surgery. He already had some of Tim's similar features a few touch ups and he was able to look just like him."

Calleigh walked slowly up to the body, eyeing it carefully. She bent over examining the face. She fingered the dark locks between her fingers, "His's dyed." She looked over at the group, "Horatio?"

Horatio stared at the body, "Someone went to a lot of trouble to make us think Speed is dead."

"Is the body switched or was he at the shooting?" Eric asked confused; concern written all over his face.

"I was with the body as they transported it," Alexx's voice dropped. "I wanted to keep him safe."

"So then where the hell is Speed?" Eric asked the question on everyone's mind. Eric looked to the body. "If he was at the shooting – then he was acting as if he was Timothy Speedle."

"Calleigh, grab your kit, we're going to Speed's apartment. Eric, I want you to focus on the missing boy, pull in some night staff if you have to." Horatio pulled out his cell phone as he headed out the door. "Tripp we have a serious situation. Meet me at Speed's apartment...We have a missing CSI."


"Horatio what is going on?" Frank Tripp walked up to the CSI. "Speedle is dead."

"The body wasn't his," Horatio stated as they walked up the stairs to Speed's apartment.

"What?" Tripp stopped in shock

"Alexx discovered that the body didn't have Speed's tattoo," Horatio kept walking up the stairs, causing Tripp to run up after him. "She ran his prints and they came back as a Robert Jackson."

Tripp stared at Horatio in shock, "Whoa."

"So the question now is..." Horatio looked at the front door.

"Where is Speed?" Calleigh walked up to the two men. "I talked to the manager. She told me that the past few days Speed seemed different – not stopping by and talking to her like he normally does." Calleigh handed Horatio the keys, "She also stated that there had been some suspicious people around the building over the past few weeks. She figured they were just loiters, didn't think much about them."

"Could she give us a description?" Tripp asked as the entered the apartment.

"She wasn't wearing her glasses," Calleigh looked around the living room. "This isn't right."

Horatio nodded in agreement, "This is way too clean. Looks like a cleaning crew came through here."

"If Speed struggled," Tripp looked around the room everything was in its place, neat and orderly – not a speck of dust. So unlike Speed. "They would have had to clean it up so the new guy could live here."

"So why would someone go to all the trouble of hiring an actor to play Speed," Calleigh asked as she slipped on her gloves pulling out her fingerprinting powder. "It doesn't make sense."

"They wanted to hide the fact he's missing. They must have known that the moment Speed didn't show up for work, we would investigate. Something they wanted to avoid." Horatio stepped into the kitchen. He pulled out the trash can smiling slightly. "Seems Mr. Jackson can't cook, there's take out in the trashcan."

"So the shooting was a mistake," Tripp asked flipping through loose papers on the desk. "I mean the actor wasn't supposed to get killed, right?"

"No, he wasn't," Horatio walked into the bathroom digging through the cupboards. He stepped back out into the living room, "Found some hair dye, contact solution and case," he said holding up the products.

"Speed doesn't wear contacts," Tripp set the papers down on the desk. "How long do you think this guy was playing Speed? I mean you would think we would have noticed something was off."

"I noticed a slight change these past few days, but contributed to it him going home for vacation," Horatio wandered into the office/spare room. "He always got quiet and agitated when he went back to New York," he called from the room.

Calleigh cocked her head as she looked at the sliding glass door, "Horatio, I got blood." She snapped some photos then took a sample. "We'll see if it's Speed's or our actor's."

Horatio stepped out of the office, a book in his hands. "Let's get it to Valerie."

"What did you find?" Tripp pointed to the book in Horatio's hand.

"Speed's journal," Horatio held it close to him. "Someone had to know everything about Speed to set this up – that takes time and patience. Maybe he noticed and wrote it down."

"You think someone was stalking him?" Calleigh looked over at him.

"I think someone decided Speed was theirs for the taking," Horatio slipped his glasses on as they headed back out to the hummer. "They are going to find out they were wrong."


"I'm sorry about your CSI," Tawny Williams held her son to her.

Horatio just nodded not saying anything. He turned away from the reunited family and walked down to his office. He slumped onto his couch exhausted, but his day wasn't over – nor will it be until he found Speed.

Stetler walked into his office, a scowl on his face, "Why hasn't Speedle's parents been notified?"

"Tell me you didn't call them," Horatio looked up at him.

"Not yet," Stetler glared at him. "Also your CSI refuses to give me the gun report."

Horatio stood up his eyes flashing dangerously, "A situation has come up."

"What situation," Stetler followed Horatio out of the office. "What the hell is going on, Horatio?"

Horatio ignored Stetler's inquiries until they reached one of the back layout rooms, "Eric, Calleigh what do you have?"

Calleigh looked up glanced towards Stetler, "Robert Jackson is an actor. That's how we got his prints off a SAG card. An actor with an attitude problem; according to his agent he alienated himself from practically all the studios – to the point he couldn't even get a part as a dead body in that CSI show."

"Well he's one now," Eric commented bitterly, the stress of the past few days was catching up with him. He sighed, and then added, "We checked his bank accounts, and a deposit of five hundred thousand dollars was deposited recently."

"So someone was paying him," Horatio looked back over at Calleigh. "Do we know who?"

"Dead end," Tripp answered her, entering the conversation. "I'm tracking his last movements in the area. See where he worked, played, acted – see if there's a connection to Speed."

"What the hell is going on?" Stetler demanded he turned and glared at Horatio. "Why are they talking about Speedle?"

"The body we brought back from the shooting," Eric looked over at him.

"Wasn't Speed," Calleigh finished.

"Are you sure?" Stetler looked over at Horatio, shocked.

"DNA and fingerprints don't match," Horatio informed him. "We found some blood at Speed's apartment – it matched Speed."

"He looked just like," Stetler leaned back against the wall in complete shock. He couldn't help but think of the ramifications, an officer missing – someone posing to be one, who in the end got killed. "So we have a missing officer. What about the gun?"

"It's Speed's spare," Calleigh explained. "I tracked the serial numbers. It was assigned to him over a year ago; my guess is that it was in the back of his closet." She had a bone to pick with him when they got him home. Her guess was that he forgot he even had it.

"So this actor grabs Speed's back up, which is dirty and gets shot his first day on the job?" Stetler asked trying to get a feel for the situation. "Why not take his actual piece?"

"We haven't located Speed's actual weapon." Calleigh informed him. "I'm guessing the kidnapper took it with him, maybe used it against Speed to force him out of the house."

"We also think Speed's been missing for a few days," Horatio looked between everyone. "The apartment had been recently cleaned, and the landlady stated 'Speed' was acting weird the past few days. Fits the behavior here at work, distant, non-responsive, but no one thought any thing of it because..."

"Speed gets in those moods," Eric finished with anger in his voic; anger at himself for not noticing there was a problem or difference.

"What about Speed's cases?" Stetler asked concerned. "If an actor has been playing CSI, and that gets out ..."

"We're going to bring in an outside person to go through his cases during the past week," Horatio glanced towards Calleigh. "Calleigh I want you to go through Speed's past cases, go back at least a year and see if anything weird pops up."

"Case related?" Eric frowned following Horatio's thinking. "If it's someone Speed put away, why not just kill him?"

"Maybe he's torturing him," Tripp thought out loud. "If we don't think he's missing, they got all the time in the world."

Horatio took a deep breath his eyes focused on the table, forcing the image of Speed being tortured out of his conscious thought. "Ask around his neighborhood; find out if they saw anything suspicious." He instructed as he looked back up, "We know for a fact he's been gone for over twenty-four hours, possibly even a week."

"What about the shooting?" Stetler asked bringing them back to the cause of the revelation.

"Let the reporters still think Speed was killed," Tripp suggested. He continued with his thought, because of the looks the CSI's were giving him, "The stalker will think – that we think Speed's dead - he could get careless and slip up."

Horatio nodded in agreement, "Anything on the prints?" he asked Eric.

"Nothing," Eric shook his head in frustration, "only matches were of Mr. Jackson. There was one unknown, my guess the kidnapper/stalker."

"Someone had a lot of money to pull this off," Tripp whistled. "I mean, they had to be following Speed around, break into his apartment, and know his work schedule. After kidnapping him they had the apartment cleaned, and hired an actor to play him."

"Calleigh when you search through his cases, narrow it towards someone with access to the funds to pull this off," Horatio looked between Tripp and Calleigh. "Then once you get that list, cross reference it to Jackson."

"What about a funeral?" Eric asked. "The media will expect one."

"I'm going to call his parents," Horatio stated with a nod, "Let them know what is really going on."

"In the mean time we bury Speed?" Tripp voice dropped slightly.

"Our kidnapper will truly think he's gotten away with his prize," Horatio looked out towards the lab. "That is until we show up at his front door."


"You need to get some rest, Horatio." Yelina looked down at her brother-in-law. Horatio's suit was rumpled, bags under his eyes. "You're exhausted."

"I've got work to do," Horatio snapped at her not looking up from his desk. He was going through Speed's old cases, a second or was it the third time? Looking for anything that would give him any clue to where Speed was; days have had gone by and nothing. Time was running out.

"You're not helping him if you fall over exhausted," Yelina leaned over his desk. "Look, I know you want to find him, but you need some sleep."

"I need to find Speed," Horatio looked up eyes flashing. "Some madman has him in his clutches and you want me to sleep. We have no idea what he's going through, I can't sleep until he's home."

Yelina sighed as she looked into pained, tired blue eyes, "Horatio, I have faith you will bring him home. And I know that Tim right now is just waiting for you to rescue him, but you're not going to do him any good if you pass out."

Horatio glared at his sister-in-law; she just glared back. Horatio sighed, "Fine I'll rest on my couch."

"NO," She walked around his desk grabbing his arm practically pulling him out of his chair. "You will go home and sleep," she pushed him towards the door.

"I can't," Horatio stopped mid step, looked down. "I close my eyes and I just see Speed injured, asking why haven't I come for him."

Yelina held back the tears that threatened to flow, "Just rest here for a bit. I'll be here watching over you."

Horatio looked up at her a sad smile on his face, "Thanks."

"Hey, it's nothing, we all want him home." Yelina made sure he lay down on his office couch.

Horatio took a deep breath, his eyes drooping closed even as he fought sleep. Alexx walked into the office quietly, Yelina motioned for them to head back outside. "I just got him to finally rest," she said after they got into the hallway.

"I'm glad you got him to rest, I had to threaten to drug Calleigh and Eric's drinks. They're resting in the employee lounge" Alexx leaned up against the wall, "Of course Peter threatened to drug mine." She laughed slightly, "We're all tired."

"Everyone is working overtime trying to find him," Yelina looked around the lab.

The normal boisterous lab was quiet and subdued. When Horatio had announced to the lab and precinct that Speed was very much alive, but missing, it had shocked the department. The lab techs were working over time processing any evidence that was found. Detectives were checking every lead no matter how small.

The staged funeral had been difficult to get through, the event might have been faked, but the emotions were very much real. Horatio had informed Tim's parents of the situation – they had asked to be kept updated. Horatio had asked a retired captain and his wife to play the grieving parents at the funeral.

"I can't...I don't want to imagine what he's going through," Alexx took a shuttering deep breath. "Someone has my boy and..." Alexx wiped away a tear. "I know Horatio will find him, but he needs to take care of himself – he's worn out."

"He feels responsible," Yelina looked back at the office door. "He feels he should have noticed the difference."

"We all should have noticed the difference," Alexx spat out angry at herself for not noticing. "But we didn't. All we can do is find him and be there for him."

Yelina looked down at the floor her voice soft, "I also think Tim going missing has made Horatio finally realize his own feelings."

Alexx smiled sadly, "Tragedy can do that. At least we didn't bury him – I don't think Horatio would have..."

"I think I found something," Eric ran up the hallway, Tripp and Calleigh a few steps behind him.

"Weren't you two supposed to be resting?" Alexx looked at them.

"Something kept bugging me, I wanted Tripp to take a look at it," Eric explained.

"What?" Horatio asked from his door, woken up by the commotion.

Eric walked into Horatio's office everyone following him, "I found this old case of Speed's. At first I didn't think anything of it -- it was a nothing case, but something just kept pulling me back to it." Eric took a breath as he handed the file folder to Horatio. "The case was for a stolen diamond necklace, later to be found on the premises...."

Tripp took over telling the story, "The Terrance's had claimed that one of their hired staff had stolen the necklace. Speedle and I were working the case, while he began his investigation; I started talking with the staff. I had just finished talking with the gardener when I walked back into the house to talk with Speedle. Richard Terrance, the Terrance's son, was hitting up on Speed blatantly." Tripp paused taking in everyone's reaction; none of them seemed surprised at the implications of the statement. He continued, "I mean blatantly, he might as well just have hit his knees and offered him a blow job. Speedle did a great job of ignoring him, but the kid just didn't get the hint. I had to tell him to get lost."

Tripp paused to let what everything he said sink in, "Come to find out the stolen necklace – was behind the dresser," he sighed. He remembered how pissed Speed was over the situation. Not just the necklace but also over Richard's attempts at seduction. "Speedle was beyond pissed that he had wasted a day investigating a 'stolen' necklace that was worth more than what he would earn in a lifetime. When we were leaving, Richard propositioned him. Speedle turned him down flat. Richard wasn't a happy boy; he looked like a five year old who had just been told no to a new toy," Tripp shook his head in disgust. "He honestly thought Speedle would just swoon for him. Even offered to buy him a drink," Tripp smiled at Horatio. "Speed told him since he was under 21; it would be illegal, and very inappropriate. We got in the vehicle and left, never thought about the case again until Eric brought it to my attention."

Eric looked over at Horatio, "The case was over nine months ago, enough time to set something of this scale up."

"What do we know about him?" Horatio looked through the folder.

"Well, he finally turned twenty-one and had himself a five hundred thousand dollar birthday bash," Tripp commented his eyes rolling.

"So Speed turns him down," Calleigh asks shocked, "And he kidnaps him? How spoiled can someone be?"

"Not much of a connection," Yelina questioned as she leaned up against Horatio's desk.

"Oh wait, there's more." Eric handed Horatio a second folder. "Seems Richard has been taking acting classes, and guess who was in his class?"

"I want Richard's friends questions, I want everyone in that class questioned, I want his accounts gone through," Horatio looked up at the team. "I know we are all tired..."

"We're on it," Calleigh smiled at him as she headed for the door. "The sooner we get enough evidence the sooner we can get a warrant."

"Yelina," Horatio looked over at her. "I want to know the address of every piece of property the Terrance's own."


It took every ounce of Horatio's will power not to break down the front door. Behind him were Eric and Calleigh with their kits, and Alexx with a medical kit in hand. Yelina, Stetler and Tripp were near by, along with six uniformed officers. Rescue was within calling distance. Horatio pounded on the door, protocol be damned.

The past twenty-four hours had been nerve wracking on everyone. Tripp and Yelina had questioned Richard's friends. They all said the same thing – Richard had been obsessed with the CSI that turned him down. No one said 'no' to him, especially a nobody cop. They also mentioned that Richard had told them he was getting himself a special birthday present.

Calleigh had dug through his bank accounts, discovering large amounts of withdrawals in the last few months; payments to a plastic surgeon, contractor for home renovations, and shops Calleigh didn't want to discuss. But a locking piece of evidence was a five hundred thousand dollar withdrawal that matched the deposit to Robert Jackson's account.

The last piece of evidence that fell into place was when Eric was able to match Richard Terrance's fingerprints to the unknown found in Speed's apartment. Horatio had taken the information directly to the judge; he got the warrant to search all of the Terrance's properties. It took everyone less than five minutes to suit up and head out to the Terrance's residence.

Horatio pounded on the door once again, Tripp just eyeing him from the side. The door was opened by an older gentlemen, "Yes, may I help you?" He looked past Horatio his eyes widened at all the cop cars.

"We have a warrant to search the premises," Tripp held up the warrant. "Could you please have everyone exit the premises."

"The owners are out of town," The older gentlemen replied.

Horatio walked past the butler. "What about Richard Terrance?"

"I haven't seen him in a few weeks," The butler responded looking back between the two men.

"He hasn't been here?" Horatio asked, as he took off his sunglasses. His thoughts were cataloging the other Terrance's properties and possibilities where Richard might have stashed Speed.

"I have no idea," The butler eyes darted around the room. "He has a private entrance and rooms in the basement."

"Show me," Horatio demanded as he looked around the house.

"I should call the Terrance's," The butler hesitated.

Horatio turned towards him, his voice cold and hard, "Where are Richard Terrance's rooms?"

"The back staircase off the garage," The butler pointed towards the back of the house. Horatio took off down the hallway, his team a few steps behind him.

Yelina paused giving the butler a reassuring smile, "When did you see Richard last?"

"A couple of weeks ago," The butler shrugged. "He's been quiet, not really going out which is odd for him."

"Anything else unusual?" Yelina asked trying to get as much information as possible.

"He doesn't want the staff down in his rooms," The butler looked towards the back of the house. "He usually gets very upset if his rooms are dirty, but he yelled at Sonya when she went down there to clean."

"These officers will escort you outside," Yelina gave him another reassuring smile. She turned and headed for the stairs, her heart contracting and her stomach in knots, afraid of what they would find.


Horatio held up his hand as they approached the stairs, he pulled his gun motioning for Eric and Calleigh to follow. Stetler followed making sure Horatio didn't do anything stupid, like shoot the guy. Tripp stayed behind, hand on radio ready to call in for back up, Alexx paced nervously near by. Yelina caught up with them her eyes glued to the stairs and hallway beyond.

Horatio eased his way down the stairs, his ears straining for any noise. They four made their way down the hallway, stopping at a door at the end of the hallway. Stetler got up front next to Horatio, "You can't break down the door – no cause."

Horatio practically growled, then banged on the door, "MIAMI-DADE PD OPEN UP!"

"That works," Stetler commented his ear trained for the door. They heard the commotion on the inside, a yelp of pain and a sudden thud. "Now you can."

Horatio didn't hesitate; he kicked in the door and barged into the room gun raised. Stetler covered from the entrance, easing his way into the room. Calleigh and Eric kept positions by the door.

"What's the meaning of this?" A young man demanded.

"Richard Terrance?" Horatio asked his eyes searching the room. A bed sat against the back wall, it looked rumpled. His eyes caught a flash of metal near the headboard – he didn't want to think about the implications.

"Yeah, who are you?" Richard leaned against the wall.

"Lieutenant Horatio Caine, I have a warrant to search these premises," Horatio lowered his gun letting Calleigh and Eric cover him. "Step away from the closet."

"On what grounds?" He demanded not moving away from the closet. "I'm calling my lawyer."

"You do that," Horatio walked forward getting into Richard's face. "You'll need one."

"Step aside," Stetler demanded his gun still trained on the young man.

"This is harassment," He yelled stepping away from the closet, his eyes not leaving Horatio.

Horatio took a deep breath and opened the door; he looked around the empty closet his eyes taking in everything.

"I don't know what you're looking for, but..." Richard rambled, clearly nervous.

Horatio squatted down looking at the baseboards, "Calleigh -- flashlight."

Calleigh stepped forward with her kit, handing him a flashlight. She followed his line of sight, "Carpet's uneven."

He knelt down, his face close to the ground; he felt a cold wind on his face. He got back up, feeling around the back of the closet. The audible click was loud in the quiet room. Horatio stepped back drawing his gun, he nodded to Calleigh as he pushed the door open. The light beam swept through the room, landing on a still figure in the back corner.

"Speed?" Horatio stepped forward reaching down and checking for a pulse. He let out the breath he was holding when he felt a steady beat. Calleigh handed him a small knife to cut the bands off Speed's hands, the plastic tie was red with blood. Horatio gently laid him onto his back finally getting a good look at his face. "Speed," Horatio muttered sadly.

A small groan answered them, dark eyes fluttered open, "H?"

Speed's hand reached out to Horatio. Horatio gently took his hand, "We got you Speed." Horatio leaned down his face close to Speed's. "Rest, you're safe now," pain filled brown eyes closed.

"Calleigh, get Alexx and the paramedics down here," Horatio looked up at Calleigh, seeing the tears on her cheek and fury in her eyes. His own blue eyes matching her fury, he gave her a reassuring smile, "He's safe now, go."

Calleigh nodded as she headed out of the hidden room, her eyes flashed with hatred as she looked at Richard Terrance. Stetler already had him in handcuffs. "I suggest you put a flax jacket on him." Calleigh voice was cold and hard. "Once the cops find out what happened here..." She left the implications speak for themselves. Stetler dragged the young man out of the room and down the hallway.

"Calleigh?" Eric asked his eyes not leaving the open closet.

"It's Tim," She wiped a tear away. "I have to get..."

Alexx ran into the room, "Where is he?" Calleigh pointed towards the closet. "Rescue is on the way," She informed them as she entered the hidden room.

"How bad?" Eric asked his voice full of concern.

"From what I can tell, he's been beaten." Calleigh looked around the room. "I...God we want to process this room."

Eric looked around noticing the room for the first time. The bed was in shambles, he could see handcuffs at the headboard, and what looked like manacles and a chain at the foot. His eyes caught the sight of a leather strap poking out from under the bed. He closed his eyes, his mind picturing images he didn't want to deal with. "We're to close, it would be best if we brought in the night shift."

"Hell Eric, we're all to close," Calleigh voice was soft.

Two paramedics barged into the room; and headed directly for the hidden room. Calleigh and Eric held their breaths as they waited for them to come back out with their friend. A few minutes later they re-emerged with Speed on the gunnery. Eric, for the first time in weeks laid eyes on his friend.

From what he could see, Speed had bruising along his jaw, a cut above his eye and dried blood caked in his hair. One wrist was in a splint, the other wrapped in gauze. The rest of him was covered with a blanket, oxygen mask over his mouth. The distinct sound of an approaching helicopter filtered into the room. The paramedics and Alexx rushed out of the room and back up the hallway to the waiting helicopter.

Horatio walked out of the hidden room and leaned up against the wall just outside the closet. His suit was rumbled, dirty and splattered with blood – Speed's blood. He looked around the room taking in the surroundings. He straightened back up, his eyes locking onto his two CSI's, "I know this will be tough but I trust no one but us. The three of us will process the room; I want everything photographed, checked and double checked. I want no lawyer to scream tainted evidence."

"Shouldn't we bring someone else in – someone neutral?" Eric asked wanting to make sure nothing stood in the way of convicting the bastard.

Horatio nodded, "I already called someone in, and he's a new guy. A patrol cop - he applied for the program; he's got the credentials and is neutral enough. He's never worked with Speed."

"What's his name?" Calleigh asked as she knelt down to open her kit.

"Ryan Wolfe," Horatio took off his jacket handing it to Eric, "Bag it."


Alexx sat next to the bed her eyes never leaving the young man in it. She held Speed's hand, caressing it softly, her other hand running through the dark locks. She took a deep breath, keeping her emotions under control. She turned her head slightly when the door opened; she smiled at the visitor and turned back towards Speed.

"How is he?" Tripp asked walking up to the bed.

"Asleep," Alexx caressed his cheek. She looked over at Tripp, "How's things at the lab?"

"Tense," Tripp patted Speed's leg, a very uncharacteristic action for the detective. He shrugged, "Just checking."

"I can understand," Alexx hadn't let go of Speed's hand. "While they were prepping him for surgery I actually checked for his tattoo – it was beautiful sight to behold." Alexx smiled up at him.

"The rest of them our on their way," Tripp stepped back from the bed. "They just finished processing the scene." Tripp paused, "Calleigh looked pale, Eric looked like he was going to be sick, and Horatio...well it's probably a good thing Terrance wasn't around."

Alexx nodded, "I talked with the doctor..." She paused as tears began to fall. She wiped them off her cheek, "I could kill the bastard."

"Most everyone just wants a few minutes alone with him." Tripp snorted at the thought, "Even Stetler."

The door opened again, this time showing the rest of the small family. Calleigh walked up the bed, her hand resting on his leg, "How is he?"

Alexx smiled at her, "Actually asleep. They're pumping him full of antibiotics to ward off any infections."

"What did the doctor say?" Horatio eased to the other side of the bed, careful of the hospital equipment.

"Malnutrition, dehydrated, broken wrist, busted and bruised ribs, bruising on his sides and back, burns on his upper torso, they had to do surgery to repair a kidney..." Alexx paused as she listed Speed's injuries. "A minor concussion, we should wake him up in about thirty minutes."

Horatio looked over at her, "We processed the room Alexx – how bad?"

Alexx took a deep breath, "bruising and tearing." She nodded towards the small sink in the corner. "The kit needs to go back over to the lab."

Tripp closed his eyes, his teeth grinding, "I'm heading back there. I'll take it to..."

"Valera," Horatio looked over at him. "She's personally handling the testing."

Tripp grabbed the kit as he left, "I'll keep you posted on Terrance's interrogation."

"Who's doing it?" Horatio's tone dropped, cold – deadly.

"Stetler," Tripp smiled a bit. "Who knew the bastard could use his asshole skills for good."

Horatio grinned, "He lawyer up?"

"Within minutes," Tripp growled. "He can't get out of this one," Tripp stated as he left the room.

Eric took Tripp's position by the foot of Speed's bed, "Where is he going to go after he gets out of here?" The small group looked at him. "He's not going to want to go back to his apartment. Some actor was living there, being him."

"With me," Horatio stated firmly there will be no argument.

Alexx sighed softly, "How bad was the room?"

"Bad," Eric chocked. "We see stuff like this every day practically, but that room..."

"It was because we knew the victim," Calleigh sat on the edge of the bed, her hand not leaving Speed's leg. "They weren't nameless or someone else's loved one – it was ours. The case doesn't end at the arrest this time; we will be the ones he relies on to heal."

"And it's going to take some time," Horatio looked down to see Speed's eyelids flickering. "Hey, Speed – come on open those brown eyes."

Speed's eyes flickered open, "H?"

"I'm here," Horatio smiled down at him. His hand smoothing back Speed's hair.

"You found me," Speed voice was raspy.

Horatio gave him a bright smile, "Yes I did."

"But..." Speed began coughing his face contorting in pain. "He told me ... I ...I mean the other guy was shot. There was a funeral...I saw it..." Speed sat up coughing; Horatio helped him lean back into the bed.

"Robert Jackson was shot while impersonating you," Horatio informed him. "It was Alexx that noticed he wasn't you...I'm sorry Speed – I had ..."

"I saw him," Speed voice was soft tired. "He looked and acted just like me."

"Get some rest, sugar," Alexx patted his hand.

"How did you know?" Speed asked sleepily.

"You're tattoo," Alexx grinned at him.

Speed smiled, eyes fluttering closed. "Good thing I suck at strip poker," his eyes closed once again resting peacefully.

Horatio, Calleigh, and Eric looked at Alexx, "I'm not telling." Alexx smiled at them.

"Oh, no you don't," Calleigh grinned at her. "I must know."

Alexx just smiled her hand tucking some of Speed's hair behind his ears, "That's between me and Speedy."


"You ready to leave?" Horatio asked the young man sitting on the hospital bed.

Speed looked up at him a small smile on his face, "Hell yeah." He paused shifting slightly to ease the pain in his ribs, "Where am I going?"

"My place," Horatio handed him some clothes. "We didn't think you would..."

Speed shook his head, "I can't go back there."

"Do you need some help?" Horatio slipped an arm around Speed's waist, and then pulled back when Speed tensed.

Speed relaxed taking a few deep breaths, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Horatio let Speed lean into his support, "Let's get you dressed and get you out of here." Horatio made sure Speed was steady enough to walk to the bathroom. As Speed got dressed, Horatio leaned against the wall contemplating everything that was happening.

The past three days, Speed had been quiet, barely talking to anyone. He tensed when anyone touched him, or got to close. Tripp learned the hard way not to touch him. Speed had been up out of bed and looking out the window. Tripp had walked into the room and greeted the young man with a hand on his shoulder. Speed pushed Tripp violently away, causing him to trip over some chairs; he then panicked when he saw who it was, apologizing profusely. Tripp just shrugged, saying he should have known better than to sneak up on him.

Alexx was the only one he didn't react to when she touched him; Horatio suspected Speed took comfort in the familiar touch. Calleigh always made sure Speed knew she was going to touch him, make him feel at ease and relaxed. The first time Eric touch Speed he tensed and jumped away – Eric had just smiled at him as he held his hands up. Speed gave him a small smile, Eric just beamed back. Eric always kept a small distance between them, enough for Speed to feel comfortable but close enough for Speed to reach out if he wanted. Horatio was the only man he let touch him, he normally tensed when he felt Horatio's touch, but slowly relaxed. Horatio was amazed at the amount of trust Speed put in him.

Horatio came out of his thoughts when Speed came out of the bathroom, wearing some jogging pants and a tee shirt. "You ready?" Horatio asked.

"These aren't mine," Speed looked down at the clothes then back at Horatio.

Horatio sighed, "He was wearing your clothes..."

Speed shuttered in thought, "So first order of business – buy new clothes, furniture, and find a new apartment." Speed drawled as he sat in the wheel chair, he tried to smile at the humor, but couldn't quite pull it off.

"You're welcome to stay with me as long as you need," Horatio informed him as they left the hospital room and moved down the hall. "I would actually be appreciative if you did."

Speed looked up at him, "Why?"

"This way I don't have to camp out on your front lawn," Horatio grinned down at him. "I'm not letting you out of my sights for a while."

Speed ducked down, a slight blush to his cheek, "H..."

"Don't you dare apologize," Horatio stopped pushing the wheel chair and walked in front of Speed, kneeling down to be at eye level. "What happened was not your fault. Richard Terrance was a sick bastard that ..." Horatio paused he gently laid a hand on Speed's knee, he felt the muscles tense under his hand, but he didn't move it. "You did nothing wrong, it was us who should have noticed sooner that some actor was playing you..."

Horatio stopped when Speed laid his hand on Horatio's, "I saw the guy H, he looked and acted just like me." Speed paused collecting his thoughts. "I don't blame you – you found me despite the obstacles, you didn't give up." Speed's hand shook, Horatio turned his around taking Speed's into his, "Each night I would...I would tell myself just get through this, because H will find you."

Horatio squeezed Speed's hand in understanding; it was the first time he spoke about his captivity. "I'll make a deal with you," Horatio cocked his head getting Speed's attention. "We both let go, and move on. You did nothing wrong and..."

"You found me against the odds," Speed finished, "deal."

Horatio stood up, and moved back behind the wheel chair, "Now let's get you home."

"I like the sound of that," Speed muttered softly.


Speed sat outside on the back porch steps, listening to the soft sounds of night. He looked up at the stars, just enjoying the night. Richard Terrance's trial was tomorrow and he couldn't sleep.

His physical injuries were healed; the psychological ones were still there. To get back to active duty, he had to get a bill of health from the department's psychiatrist. He was slowly working his way through it. There were good days and bad. Sometimes he would be fine – laughing with his friends, then someone would touch him and he would lose it. There were days he just didn't want to get out of bed and just felt numb. He leaned against the railing his head resting on one of the wooden posts, he just wanted it all to disappear.

He wasn't surprised that his parents didn't even care enough to come down to Miami to see how he was doing. He had called them when he got out of the hospital. His mother told him that they were glad he was okay, but with the restaurant they just couldn't come down. When Alexx had asked when his parents were coming down, he had just shrugged and said they weren't. He thought Alexx was going to fly to Syracuse and smack them; he would have paid to have seen that. He told her it didn't matter, his family was already here. She cried and hugged him.

"What are you doing out here?" Horatio asked as he stepped out onto the porch.

Speed looked back, "Thinking." He hadn't left Horatio's since he left the hospital.

"You worried about tomorrow?" Horatio sat down next to him leaving space between him.

Speed looked down at his bare feet, "Terrified. I don't want to testify, but I don't want him to get away with it. I don't want everyone to know what happened, even though you already know. I don't ... I don't want to see him." Speed stammered.

"I wish I could be in the courtroom with you," Horatio let his hands fall to his side, resting them on the deck.

Speed sighed, "My therapist wants me to move out."

"And what do you want?" Horatio asked.

Speed smiled, "I want to stay here..."

"Then do," Horatio looked over at him. "No pressure for you to leave."

"But..." Speed hesitated. "He's right, I need to find my life again. I feel safe here," Speed looked over at Horatio. "I can't even thank you enough for these past months."

"How's this," Horatio smiled at him. "Let's find you place near by so if you need to, you can stop by."

Speed gave him a bright smile, one that was not seen very often. "Thank you."

Horatio tilted his down a smile on his face, "You're what's important, Speed - your well being, not just physically but mentally."

"He cleared me to go back to work, lab only, but it's something." Speed informed him.

Horatio grinned, "Good, I miss my trace expert."

Speed laughed slightly, "The new guy isn't that bad. He's nice and has got good potential."

"He's not you," Horatio looked out over the back yard.

"What if I choke tomorrow?" Speed whispered.

Horatio shifted slightly as to face Speed, "You won't."

"What if he gets off?" Speed took a deep breath his eyes focusing on the ground.

Horatio moved so he was standing on the bottom step facing Speed, "Look at me." Speed looked up his brown eyes full of fear. "I want you to think as a CSI, look at the evidence, the testimony."

Speed nodded in understanding, "As pathetic as this sounds, when it's over can..." Speed hesitated.

"I'll have some ice cream waiting," Horatio smiled. He found out Speed's comfort food was ice cream his first week living at the house. If he got overly upset or scared he would down a pint of ice cream – any style, he wasn't picky.

Speed laughed, it was music to Horatio's ears.


Speed sat in the witness box, his eyes focused on the back of the room. He refused to look over at Richard Terrance, refused to acknowledge his presence. He was nervous as hell, but talking with Horatio had helped. His family was outside waiting for him, waiting to put him back together again when he stepped outside the courtroom. He knew this was going to be difficult, he was going to have to talk about it, about everything, about what happened – his feelings, the pain. He looked quickly around the courtroom, his eyebrow raised when his eyes landed on his therapist. His therapist gave him a short wave and an encouraging smile, it was comforting. He took a deep breath and settled in, he would get through this – Richard Terrance would pay for his crimes. Then he was going to have a BIG bowl of ice cream with hot fudge.

Vance Moore, the DA, stood up and approached the witness stand, "Could you please state your name for the record."

"Timothy James Speedle," Speed was amazed how calm his voice sounded.

"And what is your occupation?" Moore continued.

"I'm a CSI Level three for the Miami-Dade Police Department," Speed answered simply.

"Let's start at the beginning," Moore turned towards the jury. "You were called to the Terrance residence for a stolen necklace."

Speed took a deep breath, "Yes, Detective Tripp and I were called out to investigate a stolen necklace. Detective Tripp began questioning the staff, while I checked for evidence of a break in."

"Is this when you met Mr. Richard Terrance?" Moore turned towards Richard.

Speed swallowed, his eyes focusing on Moore, "Yes. I was taking pictures of the outside of the house, looking for a break in point. Richard Terrance walked up to me and asked what I was doing. I informed him about the theft and continued working."

"Then what happened?" Moore leaned back on his desk.

"He followed me around the house, asking various questions about forensics," Speed answered. "He began to making sexual innuendoes; he was making it very clear to me that..." Speed paused. "He was blatantly flirting."

"Did you reciprocate?" Moore asked.

Speed knew that question was coming, "No, it was inappropriate."

"Why? He's a good looking man?" Moore glanced over at Richard.

"He was part of an active investigation," Speed explained. "It would be highly unprofessional of me to flirt while working a scene."

Moore nodded glancing over at the jury, "The necklace was it recovered?"

"It was behind the dresser," Speed tried hard not to roll his eyes. "It slipped down there while the maid was cleaning."

"So it was never stolen?" Moore smiled at him.

Speed shook his head glancing at the jury, one seemed to grin at the thought, "No, it wasn't – it was just misplaced."

"What happened when you left the residence?" Moore pushed on.

"Richard Terrance asked me if I wanted to go for drinks, since there was no case." Speed answered.

"What did you say?" Moore asked.

"I told him no," Speed paused. "I told him he couldn't buy me a drink since he was under age. He asked if I was offended that he was a guy."

"Where you?" Moore looked over at him.

"No," Speed voice dropped. "That wasn't the problem. The problem was I had no interest."

"None?" Moore eyed him.

"His attitude was a serious turn off; he acted like I should've been thrilled he smiled at me." Speed looked down then back up. "I told him that I wasn't interested and got into the car and left."

"You never saw him again?" Moore looked over at Richard.

"Not until he broke into my apartment and kidnapped me," Speed for the first time looked over at Richard.


Alexx soothed him, rubbing his back as he threw up in the court's bathroom. Speed leaned back against the stall wall, tears in his eyes. Horatio handed him a wet cloth. Speed wiped his face giving them a small smile.

"You do realize this is men's restroom?" Speed smiled at Alexx.

"Honey, it's nothing I haven't seen," Alexx smiled back at him. "Feeling better?"

"Seeing him, his eyes on me..." Speed turned and heaved again. After there was nothing left to throw up, he sat back down against the stall wall. "I just had to get out of there."

"I talked to Moore; the trial will reconvene after lunch." Horatio soothed Speed's hair back, noticing slightly that Speed responded to the touch, but instead of flinching he leaned into it. "He also said that the jury looked extremely concerned – points in your favor."

"Where are Calleigh and Eric?" Speed asked enjoying Horatio's caress.

"Eric is holding Calleigh back from shooting Terrance," Alexx smiled at him. "She keeps mentioning something about a sniper rifle."

Speed grinned laughing slightly, "I take it Ryan is covering shift?"

"He's outside guarding the door," Horatio informed him. "He wanted to be here for support."

"He's a good guy," Speed held his hand out towards Horatio, who grabbed it and helped him up. "I'm looking forward to working with him."

"Can you eat something?" Alexx asked as Speed rinsed his mouth out and splashed water on his face.

"Not without tossing it back up," He looked into the mirror. He caught Horatio's eyes, warming at the look in them, a look that was usually well masked.


"Are you feeling better?" Moore asked Speed when the trial reconvened, it was directed at the jury.

"Yes, I'm sorry about that." Speed blushed; it was a bit embarrassing to bolt from the stand muttering that he was going to be sick.

"Don't worry about it," Moore gave him a reassuring smile. "After the investigation into the 'stolen' necklace did you notice anything or sense anything off?"

Speed shook his head, "No, and that's a bit embarrassing to admit. I'm an investigator and I noticed nothing."

"You had no clue you were being stalked?" Moore asked.

"No," Speed answered simply.

"When did you see Richard Terrance again?" Moore asked heading into the line of questioning Speed really didn't want to go.

"It was a Thursday, the 18th, I think..." Speed swallowed. "I was sitting at my kitchen table cleaning my gun...I heard a noise, when I looked up it was him...I jerked back only to be grabbed from behind. I struggled, knocking the two of us onto the ground. My gun was in pieces, so I turned and headed for my front door. I was tackled to the ground breaking my coffee table. Everything was really a blur, at one point I hit the glass door to my balcony cutting myself. They finally had me pinned to the ground. That was when I got another shock..."

"What did you see?" Moore asked.

"Someone who looked just like me," Speed explained. "It was uncanny – it was like looking in a mirror."

"Then what happened?" Moore turned towards the jury watching their reactions.

"My twin pinned my arms down over my head; while Richard sat on my hips...He leaned over and kissed me." Speed took a deep breath. "He whispered into my ear – that I was his now...he placed a cloth over my mouth, chloroform."

"What happened when you woke up?" Moore walked up to the witness stand. "Take your time."

Speed looked down, fidgeting with the cufflinks, Horatio's cufflinks. Speed glanced up at the jury, and then focused on the back of the room. "When I woke up I was chained to a bed."

"And?" Moore asked quietly.

"Richard was straddling me," Speed closed his eyes. "He had a leather strap in his hand – told me to be a good boy or he would punish me. I tried to fight him, buck him off me, but then he...he hit me with the strap."

"Tim," Moore's voice was soft and comforting. "I know this is difficult." Speed looked at him tears on the verge of running down his face. "But in detail can you describe what he did to you."

Speed voice stuttered, "Over the next few weeks, Richard Terrance beat, raped, and tortured me, the whole time saying I was his to keep, his little toy. He took joy in telling me, that my twin had been killed in the line of duty, so no one would come for me – he owned me."

"How many times did he rape you?" Moore turned away from Speed walking down the jury box.

"I lost track after the tenth or so time," Speed answered quietly. "He took joy out of...out of..." Speed stopped he couldn't do it.

Moore paused letting Speed gather his strength, "Joy out of?"

"He got a perverse pleasure out of making sure I came," Speed focused on the cufflinks. "He would stimulate me so I would become hard, and then he would rape me – making sure I came also." His voice was bitter.

"The torture," Moore moved away from the sensitive subject.

"Electrocution, he had a battery, and when I would fight or struggle he would use the battery cables on me." Speed took deep breaths, absently rubbing his sides. "Mostly though he would just hit me, or just use the leather strap, sometimes he would threaten me with my own gun."

Moore held up a gun, "People's exhibit 24A. Is this your gun?"

Speed looked up at it, "Yes."

"What else did he do with this gun?" Moore set the gun back down.

Speed leaned back in his chair, face a bit pale, "raped me with it."


Speed sat at Horatio's breakfast bar with a big bowl of ice cream in front of him. Horatio laughed watching Speed take a big bite, ice cream dripping down his chin.

"You look like a five-year-old," Horatio handed him a napkin.

Speed shrugged taking another bite, "I talked with Calleigh."

"And?" Horatio asked between spoonfuls.

"She's going to take me down to the shooting range," Speed looked down at his bowl. "Teach me how to really use a gun, safety the whole works."

"You were cleaning you're gun," Horatio hesitated.

"Yeah, but that's it," Speed took a couple of bites. "At this moment I need to conquer my fear of guns, especially now."

"I never knew you were afraid of them," Horatio set his bowl down on the counter.

"Not necessarily afraid, more like apprehensive," Speed clarified. "And after this," Speed gestured around. "I have to understand it, before I can pick it up and take it into the field. Who better than Calleigh? Besides she gave me an earful about my spare – I didn't even know I had one."

"I'm proud of you," Horatio smiled at him. "You did good today."

"I faced him, talked about what happened," Speed nodded, his face a flux of emotion. "I think I'm going to be okay."

"Yes you are," Horatio grinned at him, "Even if I go broke buying ice cream."

Speed grinned, his eyes shining with mirth, "Maybe I should by some stock in Dreyers."

Horatio laughed, with Speed joining in.


Horatio stood in front of the cell; he stared at the young man on the other side. Horatio cocked his head a bit, hands on his hips as he studied the man. It took the jury less than two hours to come back with a verdict of guilty on all accounts. Speed had slumped in his seat, relief showed on his face and eyes. Alexx cried and hugged Calleigh, Eric had taken a deep cleansing breath and gave Speed a bright smile. Horatio had watched Richard; he found it humorous that Richard had seemed surprised.

"Did you honestly think you were going to get away with it?" Horatio asked, curious.

Richard looked over at him, "I won't be in here long. My lawyer is already appealing the verdict."

"Money doesn't always buy you a get out of jail free card," Horatio looked down the quiet corridor. He pulled a lot of strings to get this time alone with Terrance.

"What bugs you more?" Richard stood up and moved to the cell door. "That I got to taste him before you did? Or that he actually moaned in pleasure as I fucked him? He's mine, I broke him."

Horatio growled deep in his throat, "You may have thought that you have broken him, but in the end he won."

Richard shrugged as if he didn't have a care in the world, "Tell Tim, I said hi – and that I'll be seeing him real soon," Richard smiled at Horatio. "Oh, and Lieutenant, I suggest you get a taste of that sweet ass, before he's mine for good. Like I said earlier, I don't plan on staying in here for long."

"I'll see to it that you serve every day of your sentence," Horatio stepped back from the cell. "Don't expect any protection from the guards - cops don't like it when one of their own is injured." He slipped on his sunglasses, "Those good looks of yours may have been a benefit out in high society, but not in here. I suggest you keep your back to the wall while you shower."

Horatio had a small smirk on his face as he walked down the corridor away from Terrance's cell. It was time to put Richard Terrance behind them, and move on.


Speed looked around the living room groaning, "Alexx, Calleigh, how much stuff did you two buy?" He looked over at the two women.

Calleigh grinned, "Well with the settlement against the Terrance's we figured you needed a new look."

Speed rolled his eyes at them, "I was planning on giving that away to charity."

He didn't want the money, but Alexx had pushed him to sue the Terrance's for punitive damages. In her opinion they should have known that their son was holding someone hostage in their own house, and should be held responsible. Speed had been surprised he had won; and now he didn't know what to do with the 2.5 million dollars award to him. He already talked to a financial advisor about setting up funds for charity, specifically rape centers and children charities.

"There's plenty left over for charity," Alexx assured him. "Now let's get you unpacked and settled in."

Speed looked over at Eric who was setting up the new entertainment system, "Enjoying yourself over there?"

Eric looked over at him and grinned, "I know where I'm coming to watch the games."

Speed laughed slightly, "Bring the pizza and beer."

"No problem," Eric went back to fixing up the system.

Speed wandered out of the living room, leaving the girls to the decorating schemes, he swore they watched way too much TLC. He wandered down the hallway and into the office. Horatio was sitting in the middle of the floor organizing Speed's books.

Speed studied the redhead; he owed the man his life. Horatio's undying faith in him, kept him going at his lowest moments. He was there with coffee, tea, ice cream, or scotch when Speed had woken up with nightmares. He took more than a few punches when Speed had lost it, never once complained about the black eyes or the ruined shirts when Speed cried on his shoulder.

The apartment was only five miles away from Horatio's house. It was a nice three bedroom apartment, two bedrooms on the bottom floor; the third was a loft above the living room. Speed had thought it was too big, Horatio pointed out that Speed could never find the bed in the second bedroom, because of his many books.

Speed with Horatio and Alexx, had gone back over to his old apartment and packed up his personal things. Items that he did not want to part with; his books, mementoes, pictures, his gourmet pans, and the desk and chair in the office. Everything else he had the Salvation Army pick up. It had been difficult to walk back into that apartment, but he had needed to face his fears. Before he left he stopped by the managers and had tea with her promising to stop by.

"Tell me you're not organizing alphabetically?" Speed asked as he walked into the room.

Horatio looked up with a grin, "I'm not that stupid, I'm organizing by subject then author."

Speed sat down on the floor next to him, "You could be here a while."

"Well since you never had any sense of order in the first place, it will be worth every pain staking moment," Horatio placed another book on one of the piles. "And I expect to see it stay in order." Horatio looked over at Speed.

Speed smiled, "I'll try."

Horatio shook his head, chuckling softly. He stopped sorting and reached behind him and handed Speed a leather bound book. Speed looked down at it; hand's running over the soft leather.

"I found it when we searched your apartment, looking for clues," Horatio explained.

Speed swallowed, "Did you read it?"

Horatio looked at his hands his voice soft, "I was checking for any clue that would tell me where you were. I thought if you noticed anything you would have written it down." Horatio paused, "I should have put it away when I realized it was personal – your thoughts and feelings..."

"Why didn't you?" Speed asked his hands still caressing the journal.

"I was seeing a part of you no one had seen," Horatio looked up at him. "I was finally seeing who you really are, the man behind the CSI."

Speed's eyes locked with Horatio's, "I should be upset, but I'm not."

"You write beautifully," Horatio whispered. "Some of things written in there are deep and meaningful, makes a person think about life in general."

"And my secrets," Speed asked quietly.

"Are yours to keep," Horatio reached out cupping Speed's face gently. "If you ever want to talk about anything, my door is open."

"If I want to talk about my biggest secret and fear?" Speed asked leaning into the caress.

"I love you," Horatio gave him a small smile. "Watching you life stopped. Then to find out you were alive, but missing...I've been fighting this, us ... and now..."

Speed leaned forward kissing Horatio softly lightly, he sat back down his eyes smiling, "I love you too."

"Speed?" Horatio questioned.

"I can't guarantee when I'll be ready to..." Speed looked down, "But I know I want a relationship with you. If you're willing and patient..."

Horatio once again cupped Speed's face with both hands lifting Speed's head up to look at him, "We got all the time in the world." He leaned over kissing Speed a bit stronger than the previous kiss, but still just tasting and exploring.

Speed sighed into the kiss deepening it a bit. He pulled back a bright smile on his face, "It's a good thing we only live five miles apart."

"Why do you think I mentioned this place," Horatio laughed quietly.

Speed rolled his eyes, "Stay here tonight." Speed hesitated a bit, "Just here."

"I would be happy to," Horatio caressed Speed's cheek with his thumb then sat back down within the pile of books. "Now I got to get back to organizing."

Speed stood up, "I've got a kitchen to unpack. I'm not letting Eric touch a thing." Speed headed out of the room, he turned at the door. "Thank you."

"My pleasure," Horatio responded, happily.


Horatio looked down at the young woman lying on the floor, "Alexx what do we have?"

"Young woman, around twenty-five, gun shot wound to the back of the head. Poor thing didn't see it coming did you?" Alexx moved the head back down onto the pavement.

Horatio looked up to see two of his CSI's walk up, "Welcome gentlemen."

"What do we have?" Speed asked as they walked up his eyes focusing on the crime scene. "Murder weapon?"

"That's for you guys to find out," Horatio looked around the large warehouse. "Have fun."

Speed watched Horatio leave talking with Yelina. He looked back at Alexx who smiled at him, "I'll make sure her clothes get to trace."

"Thanks Alexx," Speed set his kit down. He looked around as he pulled out his camera. His first day back in the field and he had a warehouse to process. "Let's get cracking, I have a date tonight."

Ryan laughed, "I'm sure the boss will let you leave early." He said as he put down his kit pulling on his own gloves.

Speed grinned over at him, "Well there are some advantages."

"Welcome back, Speed." Ryan gave him a bright smile.

"Thanks," Speed stood up and began snapping pictures, a smile on his face. He had taken back his life.

~The End~

Or is it...