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A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste by Amejisuto [ - ]
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Category: CSI: Miami - Slashed > Horatio/Speed
Characters: Horatio Caine, Tim Speedle
Rating: R
Genres: Angst, Episode Related, Established Relationship, Hurt Comfort, Romance
Warnings: Death of canon character

Summary: What if Horatio would have found the right words to give Speed the strength to stay alive after being shot? What if he didn't? A look at the If Onlys.



Story Notes:
This story started out with two ideas. One is one of the bits of the fic, the one with Speed humming. You'll know it when you see it. The other was the idea that just about everyone who writes Horatio/Speed has to write a fic dealing with Lost Son at some point in time. It's one of those rules, like if you love Spike/Xander you have to rewrite School Hard at some point, and most Tony DiNozzo fans write something around Boxed in. So yeah, here is my version. I used to read Marvel's What If ... ? comics a lot as a kid so this is a What if ... sort of thing. I used some dialog from the transcripts of the show itself, just to be accurate. Well, up until I change things.

Oh, I also used a line from a different show, virtual peanut butter cookies to whoever can find it. And while my Buffy readers know very well that I have an obsession with using Meat Loaf songs as inspiration and titles, this fact may be new to some people. I actually wrote most of this story while listening to this song and all three Bat Out of Hell CD's over a long period of time since I got stuck in the middle. Anyhoo, hope you like it!

Beta'd by the wonderful Suki! Also thank you to Calic0cat and Azurehart for going over it as well. You're all faboo!


The loneliest words you'll ever- know:
If only - if only it was so
The emptiest words that there'll ever be:
It could have been me
It could have been me
You'll have to pay for it later:
If you don't get it when its going for free!
Believe me! believe me, believe me!

A kiss is a terrible thing to waste
A kiss is a terrible thing to waste
Its something that has always been so
A kiss is a terrible thing to waste
A kiss is a terrible thing to waste

~ A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Lyrics by Jim Steinman, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, sung by Meat Loaf.



****** ****** ******




"Speed!"

Speed watched from the floor, gasping for breath as Horatio tried to stop the bleeding in his shoulder and dial his cell phone all at once.

"This is CSI Caine. We have a priority here! I got a man down, shots fired!" Hands ran through his hair and Speed found that they brought tears to his eyes. "Hang in there."

Speed could feel his mouth fill with blood as he struggled for breath. He drifted for a moment and came back to find he was in Horatio's lap and the red head was cradling him. He felt disconnected from his body. Cold. And Horatio's body heat just wasn't enough to compensate.

The small part of his brain that wasn't trying to keep him alive had to comment that all it took was getting shot to get in H's lap.

"Speed. Speed, keep breathing. Speed."

"I can't feel anything!"

Speed struggled to breath, his lungs aching. He noticed that Horatio's suit was all bloody. He was so cold. Horatio moved his head and looked into his eyes. Those blue eyes that could freeze a suspect were looking directly at him, pinning him with Horatio's gaze.

"You will not die. You got that, Speed? I said, you will not die."

Speed thought he was unconscious and dreaming for a moment, because Horatio kissed him. First on the forehead and then, softly but intently, on the lips. Then he realized that he hurt too much for it to be a dream, and Horatio had blood on his lips. His blood.

Horatio's hand found his own and Speed tried to squeeze it. He could hear the sirens off in the distance. "Horatio ... "

"You will not die."

Speed could hear fear in Horatio's voice and struggled to reassure him, despite the pain. "I'm with you, H. I'm with you."

The ride in the ambulance and his arrival at the ER was all a blur. The only thing Speed remembered was struggling to breath and Horatio, demanding that he keep living. When it was all over, and he woke up in recovery, several pints of other people's blood in his veins, the first thing he saw was Horatio. The man looked relived and totally devastated all at once and as Speed slid into unconsciousness again he felt another quick press of lips against his own.

The really crappy part about both men finally admitting their feelings after all the time they'd been friends, was the fact that Speed was in the hospital, and asleep more often than not. Days went by with him only being awake every few hours, except when the nurses and doctors woke him up to poke and prod him.

Finally though, there came a day when Speed was more awake than asleep, and the nurses finally let him be for more than ten minutes at a time and he was moved out of the ICU and into a room with an old man who snored most of the time. Horatio came in to visit, sitting in his usual chair by the bed, the television turned to some annoying game show, and Speed finally asked the question he'd been wanting to know ever since he realized he was going to survive.

"Why?" Why kiss him? Why wait until he was almost dead?

Horatio gave one of his shrugs and seemed embarrassed. "I always figured there would be a right time to approach you, but there never was. And then, suddenly, time just ran out and I realized if I didn't let you know how I felt, right then, all my – our – chances could be lost."

Speed nodded. He had felt the same way. He reached out with his good hand and grabbed at Horatio, glad that the man came willingly to sit beside him on the bed since he had about the same amount of strength as a three-year old girl. "I get it. I felt the same way. I loved you but was afraid you wouldn't feel the same way and I was afraid to take that chance. I'm glad you did."

"Me too." Horatio picked up his good hand and kissed the palm, making Speed shiver. "In fact, I think we need to make a promise. I'll kiss you every day, and you promise not to get shot again."

Speed knew that realistically, he couldn't make that promise. Especially since Horatio was an even bigger trouble magnet than he was and now that Speed knew the red-head felt the same way about him as he did about Horatio, there was no way he was letting the man he loved pull stupid stunts without being right there beside him backing him up.

But for right now, he was going to go with it. "Sounds damn good to me."

"Mmm." Horatio didn't really say anything, probably because he heard what Speed hadn't said out loud. Still he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Speed and Speed gave a moan that had nothing to do with pain and everything about pleasure. He opened his mouth and met Horatio's tongue with his own, entwining with his new lover for a moment before Horatio pressed him even further and his new lover's tongue mapped out the inside of his mouth before retreating.

Speed sighed and found himself wishing he was up to going further, but there was no way. Horatio seemed to pick up on that and brought a hand up to caress his face and lips.

"Don't worry, Tim, that was only a taste."

Speed found he didn't even mind Horatio using his first name. "I know, but sue me, I can't wait for more."

"I'm just glad there'll be time for us to have more."

"Me too, Horatio. Me too."




****** ***** ******

He had known it was going to be a bad day, and he'd been right. Of course Speed hadn't known just how bad it was going to be. Then again it was the one-year anniversary of his near-fatal shooting. Maybe he should have just stayed in bed.

His first day back at the lab after the shooting had been terrible, with nearly everyone from the janitor on up stopping by to see him. From his friends, he didn't mind it, but the people he'd never really seen before and talked to were annoying as hell. It was as if he was some strange zoo animal, the rare and amazing Speedle who survived being shot just because his boss demanded it of him.

Today it was the same thing. Calliegh had even asked him if he'd cleaned his gun. He didn't allow himself to be bothered by her, just reminded her that it was a bad firing pin that had caused his gun to misfire, not his bad habits with it.

Even more annoying was Stetler sticking his nose into it. The man seemed to live to annoy him. The only person Stetler annoyed more was Horatio. Then again Speed thought the man wanted into H's pants and despite not having any evidence, knew that Speed was possessive as hell when it came to any article of H's clothes.

"Don't you have something better to do, Stetler? An innocent cop to stalk? Oh, right, Horatio is in court today so you can't."

Stetler glared at him and Speed wished the old wives tale was right. He'd pay good money to see the man's face freeze that way.

"I'm watching you, Speedle, remember that."

Speed smirked. "You know, Ricky, you really need to grow a goatee, or maybe just a mustache and cultivate an evil cackle. Your threats would go over so much better with some sort of evil villain prop."

"I know you've got something going on with Caine, and when I find the proof your careers will be over!"

Speed ignored the statement. It may or may not have been true, depending on the political climate in Miami at the time, but he wasn't going to worry about it. It wasn't like they were the only gay cops in the country. It paid to have friends. "Maybe a cape. Yeah, a black cape. It would add a certain dramatic effect to statements like that."

Stetler's glare got even worse but Speed didn't even blink. Did the man honestly think he was scary? Speed had seen Horatio on little sleep after a bad case when the man had lost his famous cool and actually threatened a suspect in a child's murder once. Stetler only dreamed about being half as menacing.

Out of the corner of his eye, Speed could see Alexx watching, ready and willing to protect him from Stetler if needed. Speed snorted. As if he'd need it.

Stetler seemed to realize that not only was his death stare not making any knees wobble in fear, but that he was unarmed in a battle of wits. He spun around and stalked off. Speed hammed it up for Alexx who was watching and started humming the Imperial March, otherwise known as Darth Vader's Theme.

"Dun dun dun, dun dun dun, dun dun dun ... "

Stetler must have heard him, because he tripped over his feet just for a moment before continuing on his way, his gait awkward with repressed fury.

Speed snickered. One day he'd manage to give the IAB officer a stroke. Maybe if he timed it right it could be an anniversary present for Horatio.

Alexx's heels clicked on the floor as the woman moved to join him. "I don't know, baby, I think Stetler's more like Grand Moff Tarkin rather than Vader. Remember, Vader had a bit of goodness in him in the end. I doubt if Rick Stetler would know goodness if it jumped up and bit the man on the ass."

Speed shook his head. "I don't even want to know how you know that."

Alexx gave him a smile. "I have children, Timmy, of course I know trivia like that."

Before he could respond Alexx had his arm in hers and was all but dragging him down the hall. "Baby, you and Horatio are coming over for dinner tonight."

Damn. All he really wanted was to hole up at home with Horatio and a good book. "Alexx ... "

"Timmy, let me rephrase that. You and Horatio are coming over for dinner tonight."

Speed rolled his eyes but knew better than to argue. Besides, now that Ray Jr. was gone, Horatio could get his big brother/uncle urges fixed by Alexx's kids. "Yes, ma'am!"

"That's better." Alexx moved to flatten his hair, not that it would do any good. "I know it's hard being here today, baby, just grit your teeth and you'll make it through."

Speed shrugged. While it was true it didn't really help his temper. "It would help if everyone and their brother didn't ask if I'd cleaned my gun."

"They just worry about you, darlin'."

Speed shook his head and didn't contradict the woman. He loved Alexx to death, hell she'd been there for him when his own parents couldn't be bothered. Still she tended to see the good in most people while he was a bit more cynical.

He chose to just gloss over his cynicism for the moment. "We need to bring anything tonight?"

They stopped in front of his lab and Alexx gave him a final pat on his arm before letting him go. Finally. He had been considering chewing it off to get away from her mothering. Well, not really, but the thought had been in the back of his head.

"Just the two of you and your bright and shining faces, baby. I've got everything else handled."

"Right." Speed made a mental note to stop for beer and soda. Alexx's kids could always drink soda. "See you tonight, Alexx."

She left and he returned to his lab. That morning a pet shop worker had been shot as she got ready to open the store and he'd been processing the trace all damn day. Thankfully none of the animals had been hurt. It looked to be a simple robbery. There was still a hell of a lot of evidence to process, however, despite the fact that the store had been one of the cleaner pet stores he'd seen.

He'd spent half the morning separating the different types of dog, cat, rabbit, gerbil and ferret hairs, not to mention trying to analyze the different biological samples he had. A process made more difficult by the fact that while he was in court the day before, Ryan Wolfe had decided to re-organize his lab.

Again.

Speed huffed in frustration even as he got back to work. He tried to cut Wolfe some slack but his patience was wearing out. He realized it was tough to fill in for someone and have them come back and all that but OCD or not if Wolfe messed with his stuff again, not even Horatio would find his body.

He quickly got back into processing the trace from his last scene. It was an almost zen-like state where he focused solely on the evidence. It was one of the reasons he enjoyed his job, and what he thought made him good at it. Which is why he was cranky when Eric came in whining about Wolfe.

"I swear to god, Delko, if you can't play nice with Wolfe I am going to lock the two of you up in a closet and take bets if you're screwing or killing each other!"

The sound of Eric choking made Speed look up from the shirt he was processing. The man's face was positively red. Speed really wished he had a camera for moments like this.

"Speed!"

Speed sighed and put down what he was doing. "Look, Delko, I understand what you're saying. I get that Wolfe and you have this competition going on with who solves the most cases or logs the most evidence or whatever you two choose to fight over at the beginning of the week. And I get wanting the extra money a raise in rank will get you ... but you've got to remember that we're working for the victims here, not to impress the brass."

It took another ten minutes to reassure his friend and get back to what he was doing. Speed just didn't understand cops who wanted to move ahead in rank. He didn't want Horatio's job, what with all the paperwork and scheduling problems and babysitting CSI's. Not to mention dealing with the brass and people like Stetler. He'd tear his hair out first!

The rest of the afternoon went quickly. He found a bunch of Bichon Frise hair, but there hadn't been one in the shop. Four hours later and they had their killer – a fucking teenage girl who wanted a dog for her purse but didn't have the money. So she'd shot and killed the woman opening the store and taken the dog.

"What a waste." Frank Tripp was shaking his head as the uniformed officers led Stacie Morrow away. Her parents were in the hallway, arguing about whose fault it was that led up to their daughter killing another human over a dog.

Speed had to agree with Frank's assessment. It was a waste, not only of the life of the young girl who died, but of the young girl who killed her. All over a dog. "Sometimes I wonder if humans should have been allowed to evolve. We don't seem to have done much with opposable thumbs since we got them."

"True." Frank paused and then grinned. "Then again we have managed to make beer and pizza, so humanity ain't all that bad."

Speed found himself laughing. "Trust you to think of your stomach, Frank." He turned to leave and get started on the mountain of paperwork, where he would try to put in scientific terms why the girl next door shot and killed a person to steal a yappy purse dog that would probably piss on her designer shoes, given the chance.

Frank stopped him with a touch on his arm. "Glad you were here today, Speedle."

That was all the big man said, and he said it flat out. No pity or anything like that. It was a simple statement of fact and Speed appreciated it. "Thanks, Frank. That means a lot to me."

"Yeah ... well ... " Frank actually flushed and looked uncomfortable. It was a cute look for the big man.

Speed laughed. "Right. I'll go be manly and stoic in the lab and you go be manly and stoic at your desk, okay?"

"Sounds good." With that, Frank all but fled to the detective side of the station and Speed had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. Frank Tripp was a good man, but easily flustered when discussing his own emotions. It was endearing, if Speed went for bald guys instead of red heads, he would have been temped.

Speed snuck back to his lab to complete the paperwork for the arrest, avoiding the break room since Stetler was circling it like a vulture looking for roadkill. He could use a coffee but not that badly.

When he finally made it back to his lab, Speed got to work on paperwork. He slipped on his ear buds to listen to music. iPods were wonderful things; he had a play list for just about every one of his moods. Right now he had a mix of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Meat Loaf and, embarrassingly enough, Blind Melon. What could he do, he liked the song No Rain even if it was stereotypical.

It was his bad mood music and he was able to get lost in it, completing his paperwork first before finishing up the last few things in Trace. Hopefully, if no new cases came in, he'd have a little time to work on his own research. He had been working on a new way to lift trace evidence off of dead bodies for over a month now, trying to perfect it before taking it to Alexx for a trial run.

Ever since the CSI's from the Vegas had come in and that snippy strawberry blonde had tried to push Horatio and the team out of their shared case a few years ago, he'd been working on one research project or another, trying to lift the lab's credibility rating. They had moved up from number five to number four this year, just below Quantico's labs, Vegas and Mac Taylor's lab up in New York.

Amazingly enough, New York was rising as well and had taken over the number two spot from Vegas. Since he was friends with Messer and H was friendly with Taylor, this didn't bother Speed too much, just as long as Vegas went down a notch.

He'd like to see Ms. Catherine Willows push H out of his own labs now. Not that she had succeeded before, and they had eventually come to an understanding, but Speed still hadn't liked her attitude towards his lover. Not that he and Horatio had been lovers at the time; it was just the principle of the thing.

Okay, so Speed had had this whole unrequited love/lust thing for Horatio at the time and had been pissed when she had tried to run all over the object of his obsession and even more pissed when she seemed to be flirting with H right before leaving to go back to Vegas.

"You're plotting against someone, aren't you?"

Speed hadn't had his music up loud but he still hadn't heard his lover come up behind him. He startled and then glared at Horatio. "Damn it, H! Don't do that!"

Horatio smirked at him. "Or what? You'll put a bell on me? Possibly a collar?"

Speed groaned at the mental images that statement created. Horatio seemed to delight in getting him all worked up at the lab and then waiting for Speed to pounce him at home. "Don't get me started, H! We have dinner tonight at Alexx's and I won't be able to do anything about it until late."

"I might have stopped off in the morgue after getting out of court and convinced Alexx to let us come for an early dinner Saturday. That way we'll be all alone tonight. Just you and me and the book order that came for you to my house this morning."

While they were together, he and Horatio kept separate residences. Speed said it was so that they wouldn't have problems with Stetler, but Horatio maintained it was so that Speed could have two places to fill with books. Since his apartment had piss poor security he had taken to having things shipped to Horatio's beach house, which at least had a front porch that had a cover and was enclosed.

Then Horatio's words soaked into his head, past the excitement of the new books. "Just the two of us tonight? No Alexx, no kids? No Eric and Calliegh just happening by?"

Horatio crossed his arms over his chest and his smirk got even wider. "You heard me right."

"Horatio you need to leave the room. Right now."

"Speed?"

"I'm serious, Horatio, if you don't leave I swear to god, I'm going to molest you in front of Stetler and everyone in this damn lab."

Speed was hanging to his libido by his fingernails. All he wanted to do was muss H up, either by kissing him and running his hands through that vibrant red hair or pulling down his lover's dress slacks and sucking him off through the slit in his underwear.

Either way would be good. Or both, Speed wasn't picky.

"Is that so?" Horatio was standing there looking cool and unruffled, his smirk only annoying Speed all the more.

"Smug bastard."

"I think I have cause to be self-satisfied if you're planning on delivering even a tenth of what your eyes are planning."

Speed found himself all but growling and glanced out of the clear windows that enclosed the lab. No one there. He grabbed Horatio by the lapels on his coat and pulled him in for a kiss. Not a quick peck on the lips either but the kind that left them both breathless once Speed let Horatio go. He noted, with no small amount of smugness of his own, that Horatio still looked perfectly put together but if you really knew the man you could see he was battling his own lust.

Horatio took a deep breath and an intentional step backwards. "I do believe that was against our rules. Remember, nothing goes on at the lab?"

Speed snorted and thanked god his lab coat hid his hard on. "Guess you'll just have to punish me, Horatio."

"Don't tempt me."

Horatio turned to leave but Speed reached out and grabbed his lover by the arm, pulling him closer. "H ... I just wanted to say thank you. If you hadn't taken that chance and kissed me ... well, who knows what might have happened .

While Speed hadn't been depressed in the days and weeks before his near-fatal shooting, he hadn't been happy either. He hadn't been in a long term relationship in years and had almost given up on finding someone that he really connected to. He hadn't even thought about a serious relationship with Horatio; at the time he'd though his lover was completely straight and unattainable. When he felt himself hit the floor and heard the sound of the gun going off, Speed hadn't flashed back on his life and what he'd done ... no, he'd seen visions of a life he could have been living if only he had been brave enough to tell his boss, his mentor, his best friend that he was hopelessly in love with him.

Horatio didn't pull him in for another kiss. It was too dangerous with Stetler lurking around the lab. He did put his hand on the junction of Speed's shoulder and neck, where his shirt hid a mark from a love bite made the previous evening. "Believe me, I did it for myself as much as I did it for you, Tim. I don't like to think what would have happened ... "

Speed interrupted him before Horatio could go down that line of thought. "Yeah, me either. But it didn't so we're good. And I'll show you just how good we are tonight when we get home. You freeing me from Mama Alexx's clutches tonight gets you one Timothy Speedle Special Blow Job at the very least."

Horatio took another step back and pulled at his suit jacket, trying to get himself together. They were getting into too deep of emotional waters for a public place, especially in the middle of the Trace Lab. "I'm assuming this will happen after you've opened your book order?"

Speed leaned in with a leer. "Considering I got a new edition book on tantric sex for gay men? I'm thinking you'll be reading that one with me, H."

"Maybe I will, Speed. Maybe I will."

With that, Horatio turned and left the lab and Speed let him. Any more talking between the two of them would only serve to make Speed either way too introspective or sex-crazed. He went back to work with a lighter heart, his annoyance at his co-workers and the melancholy of remembering the day he nearly died on the floor of a jewelry store pushed into the back of his mind. He made a note though to make sure Horatio knew just how much he appreciated him, not just for today but for every day since he'd been shot. It could have all been so different.

If only ...




***** ***** *****

"Speed!"

Speed watched from the floor, gasping for breath as Horatio tried to stop the bleeding in his shoulder and dial his cell phone all at once.

"This is CSI Caine. We have a priority here! I got a man down, shots fired!" Hands ran through his hair and Speed found that they brought tears to his eyes. "Hang in there."

Speed could feel his mouth fill with blood as he struggled to breathe. He drifted for a moment and came back to find he was in Horatio's lap and the red-head was cradling him. He felt disconnected from his body. Cold. And Horatio's body heat just wasn't enough to compensate.

The small part of his brain that wasn't trying to keep him alive had to comment that all it took was getting shot to get in H's lap.

"Speed. Speed, keep breathing. Speed."

"I can't feel anything!"

Speed struggled to breath, his lungs aching. He noticed that Horatio's suit was all bloody. He was so cold. Horatio moved his head and looked into his eyes. Those blue eyes that could freeze a suspect were looking directly at him, pinning him with Horatio's gaze. Speed couldn't help but feel sad that he never took the chance and told Horatio just how much he loved him.

"I know, I know. I understand. Just hang in, partner."

The words that Horatio meant to reassure him, just made Speed's already fragile breath catch in his throat. Partner. Not lover or some other word more intimate to give him hope, but partner. He coughed and felt something in his chest burst. If he had been more romantic and less cynical, he would have said it was his heart breaking.

"Speed?"

If only ...

"Speed .... Speed! Speed!"

If only ....

~ The End ~