Finding Kate

Title: Finding Kate
Fandom: CSI Miami
Pairing: Tim Speedle/OC
Rating: T for now, M later on
Synopsis: Leaving was one of the hardest things she had to do but it was nothing compared to coming back. S1 onwards.

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3. Losing Face

Chapter Three: Losing Face

 

And you couldn't see,

The wood from the tree

You're eyes are unkind,

So don't look at me.

And all that you know,

Is written in stone.

One by One

I suffer you badly,

One by One

You're all I don't need

Unkle Bob – One by One

 

The break room was bursting with energy as I stepped inside, yawning, as I tied my hair back into a sleek pony tail. Horatio was flicking through channels on the T.V as Eric made coffee in the machine. Its scent was heavenly. Calleigh was sitting down flicking through a magazine as Speedle knocked back his bottle of water.

 

"Who was keeping you awake last night?" Eric grinned at me as I rubbed my hands on my face, grabbing a can of coke out of the fridge to give me a caffeine boost.

 

"They were cardboard boxes, I lost track of time unpacking and forgot to set the alarm this morning." I groaned, peering over Eric's shoulder as he stirred the strong black coffee.

 

"That smells fantastic." Calleigh said as Eric drifted past her towards Horatio, the scent of the coffee following.

 

"It'll rot your stomach." Tim remarked, moving towards the sink to refill his bottle.

 

"Just like that shirt will burn out your eyes." I chimed, causing Delko and Calleigh to snigger.

 

Tim tilted his head towards me with a look of severe distain.

 

"I happen to dress against the social norms of modern society." Tim informed me, turning his attention back to his water bottle.

 

"You look like a cross between a homeless guy and a tourist." I told him, before sipping my can.

 

"Isn't someone full of witty one liners this morning?" Tim sniped before turning his full attention to me.

 

"That's what I was really doing last night, coming up with these little gems to throw at unsuspecting criminalists." I retorted with a bright smile.

 

Tim rolled his eyes before dropping into a seat at the table.

 

I moved towards Horatio and Eric frowning at the sight of the TV.

 

"It's on every channel." Horatio murmured, as we watched the live news footage of the Bomb Squad pulling up in Coconut Grove.

 

"Bombers in Miami, no wonder the media are going nuts." I responded, folding my arms over my chest, can still clenched in one hand.

 

"You wanna go for a ride?" I turned my head to Horatio surprised.

 

"Yea sure. I'll grab my kit and then meet you by the Hummer." I told him before draining my can of coke and rushing out of the door.

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"I didn't know they made body armour in Triple Extra Large." Horatio grinned at the older dark skinned man across from him as he spoke.

 

"They make jockstraps in it too but you wouldn't know anything about that either." The other man beamed before stepping up to Horatio and embracing him tightly.

 

I let out a surprised snigger at his words as they pulled away.

 

"You liked that one huh?" The broad shouldered man's eyes were on me, twinkling with humour.

 

"Someone's gotta put him in his place once in a while." I responded.

 

"I like her." The Bomb Tech announced jerking his thumb at me as he spoke to Horatio.

 

"Kate, this is Al. Al was my mentor in the bomb squad. Kate's my new CSI." Horatio introduced us.

 

Al stuck his hand out taking mine firmly in his large one.

 

"It's nice to meet someone who can keep the old man on his toes." Al joked before returning his attention to the real reason we were here.

 

"If you excuse me I have a bomb to disarm, we can do all the catching up stuff later." Al told us as his eyes roved to the house.

 

"Good luck in there." I called after him as Horatio took an X-ray of the bomb's interior from another tech called Bill.

 

"That guy really is something." I said to Horatio, leaning closer to get a glimpse of the bomb X-ray.

 

"What are we looking at?" I asked, looping my thumbs into the back pockets of my black trousers.

 

Horatio opened his mouth to speak. There was a sudden rush of air, erupting from in front of us before the roaring in my ears began and the house exploded, spitting debris toward us. I threw up my arms to protect my face, against the sudden heat. As quickly as it happened the explosion was over, and I found myself staring at the burnt out shell of what used to be the living room of the victims house. I turned my head to Horatio.

 

His mouth was hanging open, the expression on his face one of extreme sorrow. His liquid blue eyes were staring fixated on the scene in front of us. He raised a steady hand to his face before touching a small patch of blood that had spattered on his face. I felt sick realizing that Horatio wasn't bleeding and that could only mean one thing.

 

It was Al's blood.

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I was pulling my kit out of the Hummer trying to desperately get my nerves under control as the second Crime Scene Hummer drew to halt next to me.

 

Calleigh was the first to climb out and approach me as I shut the back door to Hummer, kit in hand.

 

"Are you ok?" she asked, her eyes studying me intently looking for any signs of damage.

 

"Just a bit shaken." I admitted, following her along side the Hummer to where the other two guys and Megan were waiting.

 

Tim' eyes were on me concerned and cautious as I gave him a quick nod. I knew I looked pale and clammy from the shock of seeing the guy I'd been talking to minutes before literally being blown up to pieces.

 

Delko pulled me into a one armed hug, I felt comforted by his presence. I knew I was his way of letting me know he was glad I was ok.

 

"Where's Horatio?" Megan's hands were on he hips as she turned her gaze to me.

 

I swallowed hard before meeting her glare head on.

 

"He's inside." I told her, keeping my expression cool and calm as anger flickered in Megan's eyes.

 

"You let him go in there, after he'd just seen his friend get blown up?" she exclaimed, narrowing her eyes.

 

"In all fairness Megan there really wasn't anything I could have done to stop him. Him being the Head of the Crime Lab and all." I pointed out.

 

Megan shook her head.

 

"Our priority should be getting EMS or the Coroner to remove the bodies." Megan ranted.

 

"That's Horatio's call." I returned, eyeing her wearily.

 

"Horatio doesn't know what's good for him at the minute; he's just lost his friend and mentor." Megan informed me sternly.

 

"I was right there when it happened, remember?" I reminded her. "Horatio is doing fine; he wants to work this case."

 

"Grief is grief, and work is work, he's confusing the two." Megan folded over arms over her chest as she spoke.

 

I felt my temper begin to peak at her assumptions. I shook my head incredulously.

 

"Where the hell do you get off on this crap? I mean seriously…" I snarled.

 

"Ok, that is enough." Tim cut me verbally and with a look that stopped me dead in my tracks.

 

"You..." he pointed to me, Calleigh and Delko. "Go and see Horatio, and see what he wants us to do."

 

I opened my mouth to retort, but Delko got there first.

 

"We'll do that." He said before wrapping his arm around my shoulder and practically forcing me in the direction of the crime scene. Calleigh followed close behind. I glanced over my shoulder to give Tim my best glare and found myself startled at what I caught sight of.

 

His hands were on both of Megan's arms; he was peering into her face as she looked distantly past him. His fingers reached out tilting her chin upwards to meet his gaze as he spoke quickly.

 

I felt my jaw tensing as I twisted my head to focus back on the task at hand and away from the jealousy that was boiling beneath my veins.

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"How you doing?" I asked quietly as Horatio, Speed and I walked down the steps from the bomb scene.

 

"We need to find out who did this to Al." Was his response.

 

I recognized Horatio's reaction, he had shut down. He could deal with the pain if he worked through it and got justice for Al and his family.

 

"That Al's ring?" I gestured at the brown envelope in his hands that he was fondling.

 

Horatio stared down at it and nodded.

 

"I'm giving it back to his wife." He stated.

 

"I'm sure she'll appreciate it." I confirmed, patting his back soothingly.

 

Horatio sighed heavily before rubbing at his eyes for a second and turning his resolve back to the crime scene.

 

"Did we find out how and when the bomber got in?" he questioned his voice hollow.

 

"He crept in the back window in the maid's room. It was her day off today. I suspect the bomber managed to chloroform him in the middle of Letterman." I informed him, turning professional again.

 

"Top Ten Ways To Get Your Head Blown Off…" My jaw dropped as I turned to face Speedle unable to speak at his insensitivity.

 

A look of horror crossed his face as he realized what had just slipped out of his mouth.

 

"H, I'm really sorry." He muttered..

 

Horatio was already striding back towards the Hummer we'd arrived in waving us both off.

 

"It doesn't matter." he called before climbing into it.

 

I elbowed Tim hard in the gut.

 

"I cannot believe you! You insensitive…" I twirled to face him, shaking my head in disbelief.

 

"It slipped out. Seriously I am not that callous." Tim told me, tilting his head and analysing me.

 

"Don't do that." I growled.

 

"Do what?" he inquired, raising an eyebrow.

 

"Start psycho analysing me. I hated it then and I hate it now." I reminded him.

 

Tim bowed his head.

 

"You and H seem pretty close." He stated suddenly as he turned his head away to watch the members of the Bomb Squad packing their gear away.

 

"We are, but not the same way you and Megan appear to be." I returned.

 

Tim's gaze snapped back to me, his nostrils flaring as I gave him a tight lipped smile.

 

"Don't worry I won't tell anybody, but before you accuse me of anything take a good hard look at yourself Speedle." I sneered before turning on my heel and stalking down the steps towards the Hummer to store my evidence.

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"You sure you're ok?" Eric asked me for the fourth time in an hour as we walked towards the warehouses of Miami Customs and Exercise.

 

"My answers not gonna change Eric. I'm fine." I stated through grinded teeth.

 

I couldn't get the image of Megan and Tim out of my head and for some reason it was starting to drive me a crazy.

 

"You've been quiet ever since we got back from the scene." He remarked as perched my slim line sun glasses on the top on my head.

 

"I'm tired and it's been a rough day." I shrugged as we slipped into the warehouse; Eric was already kneeling on the floor, testing a paper sample.

 

"You and Megan don't seem to be getting on too well." Eric brought up, his eyes studying the water mark on the paper in front of me.

 

"I think he undermines Horatio and she just plain doesn't like me." I responded, folding my arms over my chest.

 

At least I had a vague idea why now.

 

"She's had a tough time you know, her husband died six months ago on the job, she literally only came back to the lab the day you arrived. To top it off Horatio has her job now, that can't be easy." Eric implored, still busy checking the paper

.

I could feel my anger ebbing away a little towards Megan at Delko's words, there was an explanation behind her actions now and it was understandable that she would be responding defensively. A death, especially of someone so close knocked your world upside down and I felt sympathetic to her circumstance, but that still didn't stop me feeling jealous.

 

I let out a sigh. I really did have no right to be pissed at either of them. I'd been out of Tim's life for six years. I'd lost that right when I'd walked out. It wasn't fair to expect that he didn't have someone new. On top of that, I knew how close Megan and Tim were from a discussion I'd had with Calleigh two days ago. She'd mentored him after he'd left Columbia, when he needed someone she was there, and apparently that was working both ways. I had no real right to complain…

 

Which pissed me off even more.

 

Eric rose to his feet as a member of the Customs and Exercise team was walking towards us. Cocktail stick dangling out of his mouth, as he gave us both a sordid looking smile.

 

"I'm gonna have a little look around, you ok if I leave you to deal with him?" I asked, snatching my kit up off the ground.

 

Eric frowned, as he glanced at me nodding.

 

"I just don't trust men with cocktail sticks." I stage whispered.

 

A smirk crossed Eric's lips as he tried not to laugh as the man approached quickly, strutting just like John Wayne in all of his cowboy movies.

 

"Fine but be a good girl, I don't wanna have to bail you out for trespassing." Eric returned with a playful warning look.

 

"I'd never make you have to do that Mr Delko." I returned with a wink.

 

Eric rolled his eyes before addressing the Customs and Exercise guy in front of him, while me and my crime scene kit went on a little exploration of our own.

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"You look like you're having fun." I mentioned to Tim as he stepped into the lab wielding yet another pair of firemen's boots.

 

"Three engine companies responded to that scene, the place was like a freeway." He groaned as he stepped up to my stool as I ran my magnifying glass over the bottom of each boot.

 

"I thought you were working on the paper with Delko." Tim stated leaning over my shoulder to check my findings.

 

"I was, it was a dead end so now I'm working on this."

 

I could smell the musk of his fading aftershave as his head was bowed close to mine as he peered into the magnifying glass too. The proximity of his face was putting me on edge, as I remembered what it felt like to feel him pressed against me, his lips brushing mine as his hands roamed.

 

"I'm sorry about before." I murmured. "Yours and Megan's relationship is none of my business."

 

Tim reached out, his arm brushing mine as he reached for the pliers on the table.

 

"Your right it isn't. You were never one for apologies." He stated, his tweezers picking at something indented into the grooves of the boot.

 

"I'm trying…I really am. It's just hard. The person I was back then and the person I am now are completely different." I tried to explain as he drew away, his eyes studying the tiny speck of plastic between the tweezers.

 

"I know. That's why I'm giving you a chance." He informed me distractedly.

 

"A chance?" I echoed as he slipped the tiny piece of plastic onto a slide and placed it under a microscope, before turning his gaze on me.

 

He stared at me for a few minutes before sighing as if he'd just decided something.

 

"Look I've spent all this time wondering what ever happened to you. You disappeared off the face of the earth after you left me. Then suddenly you appeared again last year in New York, your story was all over the newspapers. You'd been undercover and so on. I gotta say Kate I hated you, I think you were selfish and cold because of what you did." He hesitated for a second. My eyes were on him, as I tried to identify his expression. "Then suddenly you appear here, and I know it's not to get back together with me because you screwed up any chance of that when you walked out of my life the first time without any explanation."

 

Tim met my eyes straight on, I could feel the honestly in his gaze as he spoke.

 

"The truth is I don't want to know. I've moved on with my life. As much as I'd love to go on hating you the way I did when you resurfaced. We have to work together. I care about this lab more than anything, this is more than a job to me, this is my life and I like it being as uncomplicated as possible."

 

I watched him as he leaned over the work surface both hands palm down on it as he stared into the microscope.

 

"So we're going to be colleagues, nothing more and nothing less, just two people who see each other regularly in work." Tim informed me.

 

My cell phone went off suddenly breaking the tension between us. I flipped it open reading the text form Horatio before springing into action.

 

"Fine I can do that…By the way that's a photocell…" Speedle jerked away from the microscope as I snapped off my latex gloves and threw them down on the work surface.

 

"What do you know about bombs?" He asked as I slipped past him, his eyebrows arched.

 

"I spent six weeks in traction with a broken ankle; the only thing I could do was read and learn." I shrugged before I darted out of the door and towards the parking garage ignoring the dull ache in my chest.

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"I heard you saw some more action today." Calleigh grinned as we stepped into the break room.

 

I sat down at the table as she took two soda cans from the fridge and handed me one before taking a seat.

 

"I got to see the bomb squad's new machine; it was awesome what technology they have available now." I sipped from my can happily.

 

Calleigh raised her eyes to meet mine, curious and wide.

 

"You like being on the front line don't you?" she asked, her hands wrapped around the cool can.

 

I tilted my head thoughtfully before answering.

 

"I used to love being on the front line, part of the reason I agreed to go undercover was because I loved the thrill and the risk but two years down the line that faded away and I became paranoid and edgy. The feeling faded away and… I can't really describe what replaced it. There was a lot of darkness for me to wards the end." I paused before remembering the original question.

 

"The environments different and safer here, it gives me a different kind of adrenaline, one I don't have to worry about because I know I can trust people to watch my back. So the short answer is I do enjoy being on the front line. It makes things a little more interesting." I finished, raising my gaze towards Calleigh's.

 

Only her eyes weren't on me they were focused on someone behind me. I turned to see Tim lingering there, his face serious, his arms crossed over his chest.

 

"No quiet life for you huh?" he remarked stepping into the room, and crouching by the fridge to get out his bottle of water.

 

"A little danger every once in a while is what makes us feel alive." I responded as Tim rose to his feet.

 

He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

 

"Too much danger can get you killed." He shot back.

 

"I know when to stop." I stated rising to my feet, to throw the empty can in the bin.

 

"That's just the point I don't think you do." Tim remarked.

 

I could see the honesty in his eyes and the fear. As much as he pretended he didn't care, deep down he still did and he hated that.

 

"That's not your concern anymore." I said softly.

 

"I'm glad you know that." His voice was like steel, cutting through me as he spoke.

 

I clenched my jaw and narrowed my eyes as he stalked out of the break room slamming the door behind him.

 

"I don't think I've seen him this mad at someone." Calleigh commented, rising to her feet.

 

I shrugged.

 

"We had better get back to work, before Megan tells us off for wasting time."

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"You know what's really scary? The fact Horatio just took out the guy with his own cocktail stick. That is hard core." I told Eric shaking my head still astounded by what I'd witnessed.

 

We were outside on the curb outside the crime lab. I was dressed in a knee length black skirt that flounced outwards, a semi transparent black blouse with a strap top underneath and simple black heels. I was going to Al's funeral as Horatio's morale support. He hadn't asked but he hadn't stopped me when I suggested it either.

 

"H is like some super cop, then again so are you if all the rumours are true." Eric said pointedly.

 

"I am so not talking about my undercover days Eric; I am sworn by an oath." I smirked half serious.

 

"You wouldn't if you could though right?" he questioned.

 

I shook my head.

 

"I just wanna forget all about it."

 

There was a small silence between us. I turned my head towards Eric as his deep hazel eyes swept up my legs and rose to my chest and eventually my face.

 

He blushed when he realized I had been watching him, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.

 

"I can't help it your hot and in that skirt…Let's put it this way you have great legs." He complimented.

 

I found a flush rising in my own cheeks as he spoke.

 

"Hey let me take you out some time." Eric spoke suddenly surprising me.

 

I opened my mouth to say something, anything but Eric held up a hand cutting me off.

 

"It doesn't have to be a date or anything. Just two people trying to get to know each other better." Eric supplemented.

 

I looked down at my shoes, the black leather bag swinging as I clasped it in front of me in both hands.

 

"I bet you say that to all the girls." I said meeting his gaze with a small smile.

 

Eric winked.

 

"Only the ones that play hard to get."

 

I nudged him with my elbow.

 

"Oh trust me Delko I'm not playing hard to get. You can take me out but that's as far as it goes I'm not letting you over my threshold." I stated.

 

Delko leaned in, a flirtatious smile twitching at the edges of his mouth as he held his hands up.

 

"I promise you, I will be a complete gentleman. I just wanna take you out and show you what a good time you can have." Eric's hands were on the bare skin of my arms, his finger tips trailing up them, as he tilted his head down towards me a good natured smile on his face.

 

"Come on what do you say?"

 

I pushed my hair back away from my face.

 

"If you lay your hands on me I will hurt you." I warned him jabbing a finger in his chest.

 

"I promise no hands or anything, just a quiet drink between friends." Delko said openly, pulling away as the Hummer drew up next to us.

 

"I'm free tomorrow evening." I agreed finally. "That's my ride, I gotta…"

 

I trailed off, jerking my head at the Hummer.

 

"I'll pick you up here, tomorrow night, then." Eric said, that boyish smile spreading over his handsome features as he held the Hummer door open for me.

 

"You can count on it." I returned before slipping my sunglasses back over my eyes and sliding graciously into the Hummer's leather interior.

 

"See ya tomorrow Kate." Eric called as he closed the door.

 

I gave him a finger wave as Horatio pulled away from the curb and drove us towards the funeral of one of his closet friends.

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The churchyard was beautiful as we strolled through it towards the gloriously rustic building in front of us. Horatio and I walked side by side through the beautiful flowers that were just starting to come into bloom. Horatio's sunglasses were in his hand as we drew to halt by the church steps.

 

"You know what I liked best about Al. Most people make you earn their respect; with Al you already had it." Horatio said softly, staring down at his hands.

 

"You learned that lesson from him." I told him quietly.

 

The barest of smiles curved over Horatio's face as he glanced up at the open doorway in front of us.

 

"You coming in?" He asked indicating toward the doorway.

 

It was my turn to look down at my hands.

 

"Do you mind if I go see Ray?" I said softly.

 

Horatio reached out, his hand gently clasping my shoulder.

 

"I'll meet you there after the funeral." He murmured.

 

I nodded, before watching as he strode up the steps and into the arms of Al's widow. For Horatio this was about being there for her.

 

It wasn't long before I found myself standing in front of that familiar gravestone, hands clasped in front of me, eyes tracing over the writing again and again. It had been over a year ago since I'd been standing here as his coffin was lowered into the ground.

 

"It's me." I spoke quietly as I stared at the grave stone with a heavy heart.

 

I stood there in silence after that just thinking and praying, and then thinking some more about how screwed up everything had become. I felt the tears trailing down my cheeks as sorrow filled my heart. I swallowed heard, biting back the emotion welling up deep inside of me. Everything I'd repressed in the past six years was coming back to bite me in the ass and I couldn't make a sound.

 

A hand descended on my shoulder, it was warm and reassuring. I turned my head slightly, brushing the tears from my face with the back of my hand.

 

"Sorry." I bowed my head and sniffed trying to stop the free flow of tears cascading down my face.

 

"It's ok." A hanky appeared in my vision, I knew from Horatio's breast pocket.

 

I took it gratefully, and wiped my cheeks with it.

 

"Thank you." I whispered, handing it back.

 

"You ready to say goodbye." Horatio asked gently.

 

I nodded before turning to face him. His hand was on the small of my back as he guided me back towards the Hummer. As Horatio held the door open for me it suddenly occurred to me that he was the one that took care of everyone, when they needed someone he was there.

 

But who had his back when everything fell down?

 

As he climbed in the driver's side, I reached out as he shut the door, my hand taking his. His eyes rose to my face, they were glistening with unspoken emotion. For the first time in my life Horatio Caine looked vulnerable. I leaned forward wrapping my arms around him. Horatio buried his face in my shoulder, inhaling deeply as his arms wrapped around my body. I held him tightly smoothing his fine red hair.

 

"It's ok." I murmured. "It's going to be alright."

 

For the first time in what I knew was a long time Horatio Caine let himself break down.

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