It was the first clue, but neither argued - he was the boss. What he said went without question or refute. And despite the suspicious feeling in their bellies, they did what they did best. Even when the clues piled ever higher and they wanted to know what was going so desperately on:
Whispered mentions of a case...
Eric's unusual lateness...
The redhead's sudden disappearance while the florescent lights flickered...
And it was completely by mistake that the blonde CSI had wandered into the autopsy room; blindly walking in without warning (she always did), looking for her friend to ask an average question.
The scream was deafening down the corridors of the lab.
Laura had dropped her test tube when her friend ran past, full tears on her face, a chilling yelp of his name; Horatio chased her until Hagan had grasped her arms and thrust her into her superior's embrace.
Gently, he'd turned her around, allowing her nose to bore into his neck as she strained out her tears. Informed her in lisped tones of what she hadn't known - the woman who'd begun to break up his parents' marriage, the death of his youngest sister by the bitter taste of alcohol.
His fašade was carefully constructed; held in place with duct-tape lies and castle-wall defenses.
He didn't want you to know, H had told her as Speed had crawled up the stairs. His eyes were red-rimmed, strained from attempting to keep the tears inside. Inside, where he could use it as evidence when he went home that night and examined every minute detail of his friend's behaviors in the days prior.
She screamed again, begging at the elder man to tell her why he needed to leave to be happy. Why he had to leave her alone.
Then other people had come and he'd dragged them both, gentle hands, to his (cold) office.
His funeral was nothing more than a strained gathering for his family. The parents he had loved where on opposite sides of the room; his remaining two sisters doing a carefully orchestrated dance of the pained. Mourning for a brother they had only begun to know so well, a sister they had lost too young, and trying not to drown in the blazing fire that consumed their family.
Calleigh was silent.
Tim stood in the corner and would not move.
Horatio stared, some stunned and some lost, at the body in the casket; at his CSI that he couldn't protect when the man needed him the most.
Dimly, the trio noted to themselves that he didn't look right in the suit he was dressed in. Calleigh whispered to the floor that he would have liked his jeans and a button-down top better than the monochromatic outfit.
They were mostly, blessedly ignored by the blood relatives; no one asked how they were, only why they hadn't seen...
Caine couldn't answer, couldn't give any sort of response other than a replication of the one he'd gotten himself when he had suggested a therapist - he was a survivor and he was supposed to survive this.
The people trickled out as the (excessive) hours went on and it eventually became a match between the dueling husband and wife to see who would leave their child first. The CSIs watched in mild fury at their callous actions, at their unrepentant feud while they buried their only son beside their youngest daughter.
A year exactly apart they were born. Closer to each other than the sisters that had come before and they had become forever the closest as they died, a month between the two dates.
Clorinda and Pavel slipped out after another passage of time, leaving Eric to the gazes of his once colleagues.
None of the three moved from their places. Held to them almost as if cemented to the carpet; the director of the home made a move toward the Lieutenant until he recognized the sorrowed face.
The harried, five o'clock shadow of a man with tired blue eyes.