Categories > TV > CSI: Miami > Losing Control

Part 2

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 - 1566 words


True to his word, Ryan's behaviour improved to watching eyes enough that his previous antagonism towards Eric was forgotten by everyone but the Cuban himself. There was nothing that Ryan did which Eric could fault him for; he was respectful and calm at all times. He even indulged in a mild form of humour with Eric that made for a very convincing appearance that his problem with Eric had been temporary and resolved, except for one thing. Which was that Ryan always kept a subtle yet clear distance between himself and Eric at all times.

The stupid part was that it threw Eric every time. He would be lulled by Ryan's calmness, his ability to crack a small, pleasant smile and make wry remarks that would send Eric into quiet chuckles. Moving past to grab some piece of evidence or prepare a slide, he would casually clap Ryan on the shoulder like he'd done with Speed or even Calleigh a hundred times. In that instant, before his fingers could truly register the sensation of muscles twisting in tension, Ryan would shift smoothly away from Eric and not stop until he was a good few feet away on the other end of the table. If they were out in the field, sometimes Ryan would walk out of sight for a few minutes and then return as if nothing had happened.

And it hurt, despite Eric's best efforts to feel otherwise. He didn't think of himself as the kind of person who needed physical contact with others, but the idea that even the smallest and most comradely of gestures was unappealing to someone he worked with bothered Eric. That he himself was unappealing did not sit well.

"It's not you, it's him." Calleigh tried to reassure him when he brought it up with her, looking for advice. Eric nodded but the patient look he got in return told him that he must have an unconvinced look on his face.

"Hey you tried your best and if he doesn't get what makes you a great guy, it's his loss really. Can't please everybody all the time, Eric." Calleigh's next attempt to soothe him barely registered. And that wasn't it, anyway. Eric knew not everyone liked him and he was OK with that. He didn't care what most people thought. Part of his frustration with the whole situation stemmed from the fact he didn't know what made Ryan different. He didn't know why he wanted to figure out Ryan's problem with him, maybe it was just an ego trip or maybe it was just the same curiosity drive that lead him to become a forensic scientist. Whatever it was, Eric couldn't seem to shake his fixation on Ryan and even spent a few sleepless nights going over everything he knew about himself and trying to figure out what he was doing wrong.

To make matters worse, his frequent bouts of self-analysis made it impossible for Eric to ignore the surfacing fact that his concern over Ryan's rejection wasn't just a matter of respect. Eric didn't want Ryan to merely respect him, nor could he accept the idea that professional courtesy was all the future held for them. He wanted something more, found himself thinking about Ryan in a way he hadn't thought about anyone for years. His sense of timing about the whole thing was so terrible that more than once he felt like putting his head right through his locker door.

Stupid stupid stupid. I must be the only person in the lab dumb enough to feel this way about the one person who can't stand to be in the same room as me.

Eric just sighed and put his labcoat into the locker, closing it with one hand and leaving the metal facade undented as he walked away.


It had been a long week, with Calleigh on a forensics conference in L.A. and the rest of the team trying to pick up the slack and nail down a case involving some sick freak who had gone from flashing women to trying to grab them. If the hours of picking through the man's grungy belongings wasn't enough to creep Eric out, the feeling that was being watched all week certainly wasn't helping. Eric was starting to think the new lab was cursed because he could not figure out how whoever was staring at him was managing to hide themselves with all these windows.

Are they actually good for anything, like maybe seeing what is going on in this lab?!

Eric sighed in frustration at his tenth sensation of ghostly observation and resolutely turned back to picking through one of the cardboard boxes they had picked up from the suspects garage. It was mildewy and seemed to be only full of dirty magazines and old cigarette packs. Still, it was Eric's job to catalogue the contents, no matter how mouldy they might be.

As he craned his neck down, the sensation of being watched returned, but this time Eric tried to be more subtle in seeing who it was. No starry-eyed intern or sneaking reporter was going to get the drop on him a second longer! With a spark of inspiration, he made the previously unhelpful windows actually be of use to him, by taking advantage of the fact they were so clear and glossy. This late in the day, the lab was dark enough they gave almost as good reflections as a mirror. Careful to tilt his eyes up without moving his head an inch or stopping his hands from sorting, Eric made a furtive round at glancing at every window in front of him. It hurt his eyes a little to do this but his efforts were rewarded when he caught sight of, in the second last window to his left, someone standing perfectly still in the doorway behind him. And Eric thought for a moment he was going to give himself away in shock.

The person standing there, watching him and not moving an inch, was Ryan Wolfe.

From what Eric could see in the faint reflection, Ryan had a dark look on his face, not of anger like Eric had expected, it was more of a pensive expression that creased Ryan's brow. He seemed stuck between entering the lab and turning right around to leave, the file folder in his hands tightly clenched. Only Ryan's eyes saved him from looking like a statue dedicated to serious workplaces, his green eyes light and glassy with repressed emotion.

Ryan's abrasive behaviour and stony disapproval suddenly took on a whole new light in Eric's eyes. Ryan wasn't angry, he didn't have a grudge against Eric, he was just... deathly afraid. Afraid to be close to Eric in any way, but also completely unwilling to walk away.

Eric was reminded of a time back when he was still a teenager on the swim team and his friend had been working a small-time marine zoo that was off the beaten path but still got a healthy number of tourists. Eric's friend had been in charge of showing children the harmless sea animals that lived in an algae-slimed tank, gently lifting them from the salty water and offering them on his palm to the curious youngsters. One afternoon, Eric had dropped by while a group of kindergarteners was visiting the zoo, gathered in a loose gaggle around the Petting Tank. Most of the kids had already pet an octopus or tickled the baby ray but one boy was left, standing too far back to get near the tank, despite the fact that Eric's friend was trying to coax him to come over and feel how bumpy Mr.Starfish was.

While the rest of the kids chattered amongst themselves, Eric and the teacher watched the dark-haired lad standing anxiously with one hand balled into a fist at the side of his mouth, as if he wanted desperately to suck his thumb. His eyes huge, the boy seemed caught between the desire to run away and to walk over to the slowly-wiggling starfish.

"Do you want to meet Mr.Starfish, Josh?"

The boy had nodded silently, and very affirmatively, but didn't move forward. He tried to make himself walk but his fear made each step a tiny shuffle.

"Don't worry, he doesn't bite or sting." Eric's friend had tried to reassure him. "He's just a tickler at heart, really!"

That boy's eyes, big and shining, stared out from the very adult face of Ryan.

In that instant, with the memory fresh in his mind, Eric was sorely tempted to turn around and tell Ryan 'Don't worry, I don't bite or sting.' Instead, he carefully moved his eyes back to the counter and sifted through a few more fragments. A few moments passed and Ryan entered the room as if he had just turned the corner, idly turning the pages in the DNA report.

Eric felt breathless enough to go along with Ryan's little charade, trying to regain his composure and almost envying Ryan's ability to act like nothing had happened. Eric knew he'd been given a vital clue, a key to solving this whole tangled mess, but he didn't know how to use it. While he and Ryan went through the motions of discussing the evidence, Eric turned the little piece of mental gold over in his head and planned his next move.
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