Categories > TV > CSI: Miami1 Reviews
Calleigh's been listening to people theorize about Horatio's quirks for years. The fact that Ryan hasn't said a word makes her wonder. Season 4 post-Nailed.
So it came as no surprise that whenever someone witnessed her boss interrogating a suspect, or speaking to a subordinate, they came to her with their own personal theory as to what made Horatio, Horatio.
As she hung up her lab coat in the locker room before clocking out for the evening, she mused over the various pieces of knowledge presented to her since starting work at the crime lab.
“H does it to make people trust him,” Eric said once after they’d watched Horatio draw information from a traumatized rape victim. “Victims feel like they have some control back when he talks with them.” Calleigh could see where he got that idea – Horatio had sat right next to the woman, shoulders around his ears and head tilted sideways, speaking softly and reassuringly. She’d seemed to draw strength from the way Horatio positioned his body in a nonthreatening way.
Cooper dropped by Ballistics a couple weeks later with his own theory. “I heard that when he was a cop in New York, there was a case that really got to him. He used to just be a by the book cop, but now he’s got this obsessive need to see justice done.” She’d smiled noncommittally at that before shooing him out of her lab. Coop was a worse gossip than some of the secretaries, but she understood how he’d come to that conclusion. After all, Horatio had a knack for threatening suspects with bodily harm in the most mild and non-aggressive tone of voice imaginable.
Valera had suggested, only half-jokingly, that Horatio’s behavior stemmed from a Superman complex after a particularly grueling case. He’d been relentless throughout, dogging the suspect wherever he went, eating little and sleeping less. After they’d made the arrest, Horatio had leaned against the wall next to the elevator and closed his eyes for a few seconds before straightening up to go answer a call out to another crime scene. Calleigh nodded to Valera in vague agreement and prompted her a second time to give her the DNA results. As her boss said once, “we never close.”
“Does he think it makes him seem intimidating?” Stetler had asked her rhetorically one time, sarcasm dripping from every word. She’d stifled a grin, remembering the conversation Horatio and Stetler had earlier in the day. Horatio had tilted his head at the IAB man and spoken intensely, the odd cadence of his voice even more pronounced as he peppered Stetler with pointed questions. Listening to Horatio make pithy observations in his low, soft voice was a part of her day that she always looked forward to. The way his speech patterns inadvertently drove Rick Stetler up the wall was simply a bonus as far as she was concerned.
“That’s just Horatio being Horatio,” Alexx told her pragmatically as they stood over the corpse of a drowning victim. “I can’t imagine him any other way – not that I’d want to. Now take a look at these ligature marks.” Calleigh always appreciated the dose of common sense the M.E. dished out every time they saw each other. It was a welcome break from her overly gossipy coworkers.
In fact, she thought briefly as she drove to a trendy little taqueria downtown, she was a bit surprised that Ryan, who almost never failed to produce an opinion on anything, asked or not, had been remarkably close-mouthed about the enigma known as Horatio Caine.
“Calleigh!” a familiar voice called out as soon as she stepped inside the door of Feliciano’s. Well, speak of the devil. She smiled and waved across the room at Ryan. He and a patrol officer were sitting at a corner table, drinking Coronas from the bottle and working their way through a large basket of tortilla chips. Ryan’s appearance surprised her slightly. He’d ditched his work apparel of a tie and coat for jeans and a snug tee-shirt, and he slouched in his seat, seeming far more at ease than he was in the lab.
Ryan pointed at the empty third chair at their table. “Come join us,” he mouthed.
Calleigh nodded and worked her way through the crowded restaurant, dropping into the chair with the barest semblance of grace. “Hi, Ryan,” she chirped. “I wasn’t expecting to see you again until Monday.”
He grinned. “What can I say? I’m a surprising guy.” He turned to the patrol officer seated across from him. “Aaron, you’ve met Calleigh Duquesne, right?”
The officer – Aaron – nodded and offered his hand for her to shake. “In passing. Aaron Jessop, Ms. Duquesne. It’s a pleasure to meet you officially.”
“Call me Calleigh,” she said airily. “It’s great to meet you as well.” She gave him a brief once-over. He was, if possible, more clean-cut than Ryan, with a lean build and dark, serious eyes. He had the look of a rookie cop written all over him, and even if she hadn’t seen him at crime scenes before, she’d have made him as one of them in an instant.
“How’s your eye?” she asked Ryan pointedly.
“I’m perfectly okay, Cal.” He frowned at her with no real anger behind the expression, more put upon and amused than irritated. “It’s fine. H talked me into going to see an ophthalmologist, and she has me on some stronger antibiotics to kill the infection. No problem.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Can’t blame me for caring,” she said. “I’m glad you’re finally taking care of yourself.”
Ryan shrugged, and the table lapsed into a slightly uncomfortable silence that Jessop broke awkwardly by pushing back from the table and standing up.
“I’ve got to get going,” he told them. “Ryan, thanks for the drinks. Calleigh, good to see you.”
“Deb’s coming for the weekend,” Ryan said as Jessop shrugged on his jacket. “You coming for dinner? She’s making ribs.”
Jessop smiled. “Wouldn’t miss it. Tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow,” Ryan confirmed.
Jessop threw a wave over his shoulder at the two CSIs and strolled out of the taqueria.
Calleigh turned to her colleague expectantly. He interpreted her look correctly and said, “We weren’t on patrol together for more than a month or so, but he’s a decent guy. We’re pretty good friends.” The inflection he used on the word ‘friends’ was one she couldn’t decipher – there was a hint of aggravation in there. She decided to let it be.
“Tough case this time,” she said instead, changing the subject.
Ryan put down his beer and shifted in his chair, and suddenly Calleigh was faced with the awkward, fidgety Wolfe she worked with every day. He seemed to be making an effort not to cross his arms the way he did when he was about to say something that would make him sound like a jerk.
“Yeah,” he finally replied. “This one got under H’s skin pretty bad.”
“Well, sure, why wouldn’t it?” she said. “Horatio’s hardly ever wrong. Finding out he sent the wrong man to prison six years ago has to be awful.”
Ryan opened his mouth to say something, and then shut it. He was silent for a moment, and then he looked at Calleigh seriously.
“No matter how hard we try to imagine what it would feel like for us, it’s got to be worse for him.” He shrugged. “Everyone’s a little OCD about something. I’m a neat freak. Horatio needs to be right, and to have all the answers.”
She leaned in toward him, intrigued. She loved and respected their boss, but listening to other people explain how they saw Horatio had become a guilty pleasure over the years. “How do you figure that?” she asked.
Instead of answering her directly, Ryan said, “Back when my sister Deb and I were in elementary school, she had this friend –Annie – who was so quiet you could hardly hear a word she said. She never opened up around adults, but she was great with little kids. I was in second grade when they were in sixth, and I thought that Annie was just the best. The absolute greatest.”
Calleigh nodded encouragingly when Ryan stopped to gather his thoughts.
“Right. So, she had this habit, when talking to adults and to kids she didn’t know very well. She’d hunch her shoulders, stoop a little, and look at people from the side on. When she was entering a room, she’d stand sideways and look inside first – always over her shoulder, never head on.” Ryan smiled in reminiscence. There was little humor in his face. “Annie was a perfectionist, worse than me, actually. But where I’m just twisted, like Delko says, she worked at it. She always came to school with these big dark circles under her eyes from staying up until two in the morning triple-checking her homework and cleaning her room.”
Ryan paused again, and Calleigh’s gut clenched. She had a feeling she knew where Ryan’s story ended. “Go on,” she prompted.
He sighed. “Around the end of seventh grade, when I was a third grader, someone from Child Services came and took her from her home. Her mom had been, uh, pretty abusive.” When Calleigh blanched he added hurriedly, “She’s doing great now. She owns an art gallery out in California.”
Calleigh reached across the table to touch his hand sympathetically. “Oh my God, Ryan. I’m so sorry your friend went through that.”
He straightened up in his chair and placed his free hand on top of hers. “I’m sure she’d appreciate your concern. She’s a survivor, though. One of the strongest people I know.”
Calleigh hesitated, and said quietly, “So you think Horatio – ”
“Pretty sure,” he interrupted, before she had to say the words. “But you know what? He’s the strongest person I know. No matter what happened in his past, he’s always there for us. He’s got our backs.”
“Yeah,” she agreed. “He’s a great man.”
“Not just a boss, but a friend,” Ryan added. “You can always count on him.”
Again, there was an odd inflection in his voice at the word friend, and this time, Calleigh thought she understood it.
“You know, Ryan,” she began, “we’ve had some difficult moments, but I’m glad you came to work for Horatio. With us.” When he looked at her with surprise and pleasure, she felt a sting of regret that she hadn’t said something sooner.
“It’s, uh, I’m glad I decided to,” he said. “Having you and Delko as colleagues has been an experience I wouldn’t give up for anything.” He gave in and crossed his arms, awkward in his sincerity.
Calleigh laughed. “You know, I realized that I know next to nothing about you, and we’ve been working together for over a year now.” She let the implied suggestion hang between them silently.
“Well,” Ryan said, happiness coloring his words, “I have a couple friends coming over for ribs tomorrow night. My sister’s kind of strange and the barbeque sauce is hotter than the city in August, but you’re more than welcome to join us for dinner.”
Calleigh smiled brilliantly and as she gestured to the waiter to bring her a Corona like Ryan’s, she said, “Thank you for the invitation, Ryan. I think that would be wonderful.”
The sound of two beer bottles clinking together in a wordless toast sounded, to Calleigh’s ears, exactly like friendship.