Categories > TV > CSI: Miami > Losing Control

Part 1

by sunhawk 0 reviews

Pre-"Nailed", Eric struggles to figure out why things between himself and Ryan are getting so out of control.

Category: CSI: Miami - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst - Published: 2006-05-24 - Updated: 2006-05-25 - 1691 words

Author's Notes: Many thanks to my favourite beta raimm for helping me out ^_^


Calliegh tried to talk him out of it, saying it was best to let things take place naturally than rush them. But Eric didn't want to wait, didn't want to have to put up with another minute working with someone who treated him with such contempt, right out of the blue. It didn't make sense, Eric told Calleigh, he didn't understand what Ryan's problem was. Unlike Calleigh, he didn't believe that Ryan would ever just open up to him and confess his troubles. Men and women were different like that with the whole talking about their feelings bit, he tried to explain, to which Calleigh just chuckled and shook her head. Even though he knew she was probably right, even though his conscience accused him of letting his ego have the driver's seat, Eric just couldn't let it go. He and Ryan just had to have a good, old-fashioned, honest talk and hash out whatever it was that had suddenly made life a lot more murky around the forensics lab. It was that simple.

Unfortunately, nothing was as straightforward as Eric's plan when it came to the reality of the situation. Eric was surprised at how inventive Ryan had become at finding reasons to avoid him, how he would blink and somehow the new CSI would manage to vanish from line of sight, which was no mean feat in a building made up of glass walls. Finally Eric dropped all pretense of making his confrontation appear natural and followed Ryan after work one Tuesday evening.

Surprisingly, Ryan did not scuttle directly home to his apartment (using the most efficient means possible and turning intersections at precise ninety degree angles like a good perfectionist should) but instead turned his car into the parking lot of an unassuming greasy spoon that had neon lights advertising "Fish'N'Chips" and "All Nite Breakfast" in the windows. In short, the last place Eric would have guessed Ryan would willingly step inside, let alone go for an after-work meal.

Well, maybe not for a meal, Eric amended mentally after a few minutes. The big diner-style windows made it easy to watch Ryan walk into the joint and take up what looked like a regular spot in a booth, yet he waved away everything but coffee when the waitress came by. And then Ryan spent the next twenty minutes staring intently at his cracked coffee mug as if waiting for it to recite poetry or tell him a secret. Eric, to put it succinctly, was baffled.

He waited another few minutes, debating with himself, then slowly got out of his SUV and walked through the doors of the diner, an off-key bell jangling to announce his entrance, yet Ryan didn't even twitch. Deciding to take advantage of Ryan's preoccupation, Eric kept his steps normal and didn't say a word of greeting, he just plopped himself down on the other side of the booth before Ryan could even look up. His startled co-worker just stared at him for a long moment, then made a swift effort to stand up only to still at Eric's next words.

"Try to leave and I'll sing J-Lo."

"Excuse me?" Ryan said, his green eyes wide and uncomprehending. Eric continued to follow his instincts and qualified his "threat" to Ryan:

"If you leave this booth, I am going to break out, loudly I might add, into Jennifer Lopez' latest hit and serenade you for your whole walk back to your car." Eric kept Ryan's gaze ensnared and calmly watched as another long moment passed and Ryan's racing thoughts could be seen swarming behind his eyes. Then Ryan swallowed and returned to his seat with a slightly exaggerated show of calm, confirming Eric's guess that being the centre of attention was the last thing Ryan ever wanted.

"Fine. Stay then." The words fell from Ryan's lips like small, blunt pebbles; rattling only briefly between the two of them before silence fell again. The waitress came once more, having noticed Eric's arrival, and he politely agreed to her request to fill his mug, except he actually added sugar to his and sipped from it. Ryan's mug continued to sit untouched in front of him, shedding forlorn steamy curls into the air. Eric discovered that he suddenly felt no desire to rush this confrontation and instead sat drinking his coffee as if he had all the time in the world. Which was somewhat true since he wasn't working a double shift or had any reason to expect to be called in tonight. So he decided to see if Ryan would make the first move, as he was "trapped" so to speak and quite obviously eager to escape as soon as possible.

"What. Are you doing here." Ryan finally grated out, while his fingers made short work of a swizzle stick; bending the orange plastic at perfectly even intervals.

"I wanted to talk to you." Eric replied simply. Ryan favoured him with a sardonic look.

"Couldn't you have done this at work?"

"Apparently you are quite the invisible man these days in the office, Wolfe. Hard to hold a conversation with only one party present." Ryan merely grunted at Eric's sarcastic explanation and returned his attention to the bent swizzle stick.

"Do you ever eat or actually drink anything here?" Eric said after a minute, as the silence yawned again between them.

"Actually I come here for the peace and quiet." Ryan said pointedly. Eric ignored his tone and nodded, sipping again from his still-hot coffee.

"Food's that bad, huh?" Eric concluded, and Ryan made a strange noise that might have been a chuckle or a snort. Finally losing his patience, Eric put aside his mug and leaned forward with his elbows on the table. Ryan watched his change in posture with an unnecessary amount of wariness, which Eric ignored as he cut to the chase.

"Look, I just want to know what I did to piss you off. Because I was pretty sure we were doing OK until you shafted me the other day, more than once, and then didn't even apologize. We work better when we all work together-" Eric's sincere little speech was rudely interrupted by an impatient Ryan.

"Yes, I know all about the grand master-scheme of the lab, Calleigh made it crystal clear for me. So you can spare me the lecture."

Eric paused and carefully looked Ryan over; noting that his newest colleague was still avoiding eye contact and seemed to be frowning with distaste.

"Does it bother you so much to work with others?" Eric asked confusedly.


"But working with me bothers you." Eric didn't even make it a question this time.


"Why?" Two can play the monosyllabic game, Eric figured.

"What is it any business of yours? Can't you just accept the fact that there might actually be a person who doesn't automatically adore the wonderful Eric Delko? Do you stalk and harass every person who doesn't follow you around like a puppydog?" Ryan retorted in a low but harsh voice. Eric would have rocked back on his heels had he been standing, but he settled for letting his eyebrows creep up towards his hairline.

"Well it becomes my business when it starts affecting the cases and people start to notice. I don't know if you've picked up on it yet but, in the lab, the gossip rivers run deep."

"It won't happen again, don't worry." Ryan met eyes with Eric just long enough to give him a stone-cold look of boredom to match his tone.

"So that's it, huh?" Eric said after another moment of tense silence.

"Yeah that's it." Ryan muttered, placing a neatly-folded bill on the table and leaving before Eric could register what he was doing. He was already out the door before Eric could shake himself, add his own crumpled bill and then chase Ryan to his car, his longer legs easily catching up to Ryan's determined march.

"Wolfe, wait a minute!" Eric called out as he dropped his hand on the door of Ryan's car, preventing him from getting in.

"Leave me alone, Delko." Ryan stubbornly pulled on the door handle while Eric leaned his weight against it.

"Just tell me what it is that I do to bug you." Eric coaxed. "Is it the way I talk? Is my fashion sense lacking? Do I have bad breath?" Ryan looked perplexed then angry as Eric finished his litany of questions.

"Do you honestly think I would get worked up over such superficial things?" He demanded, suddenly in Eric's face after working so hard to avoid even looking in Eric's direction.

"I may not know much about you, Wolfe. But I do know that it's the little things that bother you." Eric replied evenly, not backing down despite the intensity of Ryan's dark-green glare.

"I don't need another shrink, thanks." Ryan snapped, sharply pushing his hands out like he intended to give Eric a hard and vicious shove, only to have Eric grab his forearms in purely instinctive self-defence. Only then did Eric really grasp the depth of Ryan's anger, as his fingers registered the wire-tight trembling of Ryan's arms under his firm grip, the stark paleness of Ryan's face as he blanched at Eric's actions. Worried and still ultimately confused by everything about Ryan, Eric quickly let go of the younger CSI and put a healthy distance between them, just in case. He wanted to apologize but didn't know what for exactly, crippled by the fact that he still had no real idea what he was doing so wrong.

Luckily, Ryan didn't follow his retreat or take a swing at him. Instead, he took a deep breath and muttered something to himself, flashing hot angry eyes at Eric before he stormed into his car and slammed the door shut behind him with a loud metallic retort. Without another look in the Cuban's direction, Ryan spun his vehicle out of the parking spot with ruthless precision and tore off, the tires of his car squealing ever so faintly into the night.
Sign up to rate and review this story