Calleigh closed the door to what had been the week from hell. More like ten days of hell. Leaning with her back against the door, she let her eyes shut and felt a barrage of images flash through her mind of the recent events. Who knew so much could happen in so little time?
It all began the day following the wrap-up of the Shelley Seaver case. Apparently Horatio was not as invincible as he thought he was, and it finally caught up to him. Horatio was due in court for a well publicized case. After the trial in which the culprit was found guilty, Horatio was heading back to his hummer away from all the cameras interviewing the prosecutor. Out of no where, a bullet hit him directly in the chest to the right of his sternum. Before Horatio could move away, rapid fire from another bullet struck him in the left shoulder. Pain seared through his arm as he pressed the emergency button on his pager as he lay between the two vehicles in the parking lot, gasping for breath and clinging to life.
Calleigh and the rest of the team spent the night in the emergency department and later in the I.C.U. awaiting the status of their leader. He suffered two very separate yet equally devastating wounds that would put him out of commission for at least two weeks. On top of the gunshot wounds to his chest, the first wound quickly progressed into a traumatic pnuemothorax, in which air filled the lung cavity, causing the lung to compress on the right side. The second was a through and through and part of his acromion process had been chipped, as well as minor nerve damage had occurred.
The bullet had been retrieved from the first wound and given to Calleigh for analysis. A chest tube was stuck into Horatio's chest to relieve the pressure and allow his lung a chance to expand once again, draining the fluid that continued to fill the cavity. The other wound was very tender, and his range of motion was severely limited in the left arm.
Once he regained consciousness late that night, Calleigh, Eric and Ryan were the only who remained. The I.C.U. staff let each CSI go in and talk with him, although he was hardly coherent with the drugs keeping him pain-free.
Calleigh went in last, and fortunately, she was prepared for the sight. Her eyes got a little glassy, but she blinked it all away.
"I guess once they figure out how to make those Kevlar vests ventilated I should wear one full-time," Horatio joked, though barely a whisper.
"Horatio, we shouldn't have to wear one at all. Do you even remember anything?" She asked, more or less trying to ascertain what she could do the following day, and also to gauge his cognition level.
"Yes. Whoever shot me had to have used a sniper riffle and was definitely at long distance, I'd say from one of the buildings close to the courthouse."
"That's great-" she paused as she saw him shift and wince. He kept trying to cough and couldn't produce one. The chest tube was clearly a painful object, and being hours removed from the intubation tube showed its effects. Life saving though they may be, chest tubes and airway kits still had consequences. Horatio simply lay there for a few moments trying to collect himself.
Calleigh rose slowly and rubbed the top of his hand, giving it a light squeeze. "Sleep. I'll come by tomorrow morning with any updates. But I swear to God Horatio, don't you dare try to get out of this bed before they say so."
"I mean it. Good night Horatio. I'm glad you're alright."
"Night. And Calleigh?"
"Don't be too good while you're in charge. I need a job to come back to."
"I thought Stetler-" she was puzzled. She thought Stetler had already assigned the number two from swing shift to take over.
"Nope, it's all you. Ryan is on partial detail only."
"Right. Get some rest. I'll see you later."
And that was that. Calleigh came to work an hour earlier the next morning and grabbed the open cases from Horatio's desk, reviewing each one, noting the status of each case. Whoever shot Horatio was priority status and was being investigated by Jeff Moore of the night crew, an earnest and very diligent CSI 3. She was well aware that the rest of the team would want a hand in finding who tried to kill Horatio, but she wanted to make it explicit that they had other cases to deal with at the time.
They currently had 4 cases open. Natalia and Eric were working on two while Calleigh had one with the assistance of Ryan and she was also working another with Natalia. From the looks of things she and Natalia would be able to close the case later that day.
Walking down the corridor to the breakroom, Calleigh glanced over the less exciting of the two cases Eric and Natalia were working. It was a regular B&E, but they found no evidence on scene. Just missing jewelry and a priceless painting by Degas. Probably the larcenist posing as a cable guy. The other case was much more promising and made her wish she could trade with Natalia.
As she walked in and laid the folders on the table she caught a cold glance being sent her way from Eric. Maybe a trade was a bad idea. She took a seat and he continued to ignore her presence. Definitely a bad idea.
Ryan walked in with a bag of bagels balancing precariously from his tray of coffee, smiling at Natalia as she held the door open for him.
"If you're trying to buy your way into our hearts with food, then it sure is working," said Eric, taking a long sip from the steaming cup of coffee.
"Hardly. I figured we could all use a pick-me-up after the last couple of days," he said matter of factly.
"Good call," said Calleigh with a smile as she poured a packet of sugar in her tea.
"So what's up next, do we seize the world and comb the streets or do we arrest everyone who has even thought about buying a sniper rifle?" asked a very adamant Natalia.
"Ha," smirked Calleigh at the other woman's boldness. "Not so fast. To apprise you all of Horatio's current status, he is to remain in the hospital for at least a week, seeing as that is the mandatory stay for someone who has had a chest tube placed in them. Once it's removed we'll see. He said that we should all be nice to Ryan," she shot a knowing glance at Eric, who shot his hands up in a 'who me?' gesture. "And, Jeff from night shift has been placed in charge of the investigation. I'm sure y'all remember how helpful he was two months ago when we had the fire in the hotel, so I ask that you be patient with him and help only when asked," she stated firmly as she looked around the table.
"With all due respect Calleigh, I can't do much right now, but even I think that's crap. Why can't we help? What happens to Horatio directly effects all of us, it only makes sense that we should be able to find out who did this," said Ryan fervently.
"I understand that, but it wasn't my decision," she with a tone of finality. "And right now we have four other cases that need our attention, especially you two with your Bergamont case. How's that going," she directed towards both Eric and Natalia.
Eric looked up from his folder, shrugging. "We've got two suspects, both of whom we can't pin this on. I think I'm going to head back to the scene later to take another look at the window, see if we missed anything."
"He's right. The second suspect, Brandon Fischer, doesn't even have any hits in the system. I think he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I have a few more samples to run testing on, so I should know for sure by ten," said Natalia.
"Sounds great, just keep me posted and let me know if you pull anyone else in, I may be utilizing Frank today for questioning," said Calleigh as she added notes to the case.
Eric and Natalia stood up and left the room, going their respective directions. Calleigh glanced over at a pensive Ryan, who was looking over their case with renewed determination.
"It may not seem like it, but I'm glad you're back Ryan," said Calleigh quietly, hoping to instill a meager bit of confidence in her colleague.
"I know I let you down, Calleigh," said Ryan with a frown. He stood up and started walking towards the door. "It's not going to happen again, no matter how long it takes for you to believe me. Right now, my life is all about this one case, so if you don't mind me, I'm going to head to trace and pick over the evidence with a fine-tooth comb."
"Be my guest. I've got various places to be, but page me if you need anything," she replied as she stood from the table, getting her things in order.
It was going to be a long day. And this was only the beginning.
Summary: The summer kicks off with Horatio in the hospital, Calleigh in charge and UST making humidity a thing of the past.