Parking his bike in front of the lab, Xander was curious as to why he was being looked at oddly. Horatio had done the same thing upon seeing his bike, the blue eyes turned stormy with sadness and regret, making Xander wonder what his Ducati had to do about it.
Putting his things in the locker room, Xander signed in and practically skipped towards the ballistics lab. Upon entering the room however, a petite blond woman was glaring at a brown haired man in a sweater-vest. Deciding that knocking would be a good thing, Xander tapped on the frame and gave the pair a wry smile.
“Hi, am I disturbing anything? I’m the new ballistics intern and was told that Calleigh Duquense was in Ballistics and waiting for me.”
“Wolfe, leave, I need to instruct my new intern.” Xander was shocked at the coldness towards a coworker and made a mental note to befriend the guy.
Calleigh went over the dos and don’ts that were part of working in the labs, and Xander shied away from her preppy attitude. Someone who could be cold to a coworker but nice to a stranger the way she was would only get professional courtesy from him. He refused to allow a closer friendship with someone who was as bad as the popular girls in high school.
As Calleigh spoke, she had a feeling that befriending her new tech would be an uphill battle. So, putting on her brightest smile and attempting to seem as kind as possible was her main goal. She hoped that she could talk to him and warn him about Ryan Wolfe, he had joined too quickly for it to be a coincidence that he was hired as Speed’s replacement.
Xander nodded in all the right places and took notes as Calleigh went over everything. Once she was done, she asked him to name each piece in the exemplar cabinet and to clean them if necessary. Nodding his head, Xander got to work and began to ignore Calleigh unless she wanted him to work on a case for her.
“Call me Harris or Alexander, only friends can call me Xander.” He cut Calleigh off before she could go any further and went back to his task, never looking at the woman who would be watching over him.
“Okay, Alexander, I wanted to warn you--”
“If I wanted to be warned about anyone, then it would be who you are friends with. If someone could be so callous to a coworker, and then treat a stranger with more compassion, I don’t want to know you or your warnings.” With that, Xander pulled out an IPod and ignored the shocked blonde behind him.
The pair worked the whole day in silence, and it was only broken by to occasional person that visited Ballistics to pick up or drop off evidence. Horatio had been by once or twice, but Xander was still too angry at his supervisor to notice.
By the time lunch had rolled around, Xander found the guy that Calleigh had ousted from her lab and gave him a wry smile.
“Hey, can I join you?” Xander was hesitant, but he’d rather hear why the guy was being shunned from his own mouth than from the others in the lab.
“Sure, but why aren’t you eating with Calleigh, considering she’s your boss and all right now.” The guy sounded confused that someone would willingly sit with him, and Xander felt a flash of anger at the people of the lab.
“I hate people that can be cruel to team mates and coworkers but be totally nice to a complete stranger. I’m Xander by the way.” He stuck out his hand and smiled upon the handshake.
“I was wondering if you could answer something for me.” Xander slowly broached the subject as they ate.
“I might not answer, but go ahead.”
“Why are they so cool towards you?”
“Just over a month ago, Tim Speedle was killed in a shootout during a case about a kidnapped boy. I was signed on a week later.”
“Shit and they’re taking their anger out on you.” Xander was disgusted by the actions of the people he had to work with for the year and wondered if he could be transferred, and get Ryan to go with him.
“I guess so. They’re grieving, so I try not to take it to heart.”
“It’s still wrong! Fuck, what if because of this you get hurt or killed in the line of duty as well?!” Xander’s heart sank at the shrug that he got from the brunet in front of him.
“Then I’ll be dead.”
“Jesus, when I leave in a year, if things haven’t gotten better, I am taking you to Denver with me. I don’t care what anyone says, and I know that Chris and the others will take you in too.” Xander wanted to hit something when the shocked look appeared on Ryan’s face, and had to hold back a scream of outrage.
“Why, you barely know me.” The voice was soft and almost impossible to hear.
“No one should be subjugated to the shit you’re being thrown into, and damn Ez would laugh that his words are rubbing off on me.”
“Who’s in Denver? Why a year?”
“My internship ends in a year. When I’m done here, I’ve already been promised to be the tech for “The Magnificent Seven” who are all located in Denver. You got Chris Larabee, the leader; Buck Willington, the second in command and explosives expert; Josiah Sanchez, the team profiler; Vin Tanner, the best sharpshooter in West; Nathan Jackson, our field medic; Ezra Standish, our undercover operative; and finally JD Dunne, the best and brightest computer expert. They are the Magnificent Seven, and when all is said and done, I’ll be with them.”
“John Daniel Dunne? From Boston?”
“I used to go to school with him. He lived a block away with his mother and the pair of us would always be up to an adventure. I didn’t know he was an ATF agent in Denver, last I knew he was an officer with the Boston Police.”
“Wow, it’s a small world.”
“Do you think I could talk to him? It’d be nice to hear from an old friend.”
“Sure, I’ll send him a message when I get home tonight and give him you email address. That work for you? JD loves people, so I’m sure you’ll both be chatting away in no time. Oh, and if you want to meet in person, he’ll be down at the end of the month with the team. Apparently Horatio wants them down to help with a case or something like that.” Ryan smiled softly.
“Thanks Xander, I really appreciate this.”
“Hey, no worries; it’ll be two birds with one stone, if you ask me. You get to reunite with JD and get to meet Team Seven from Denver. They’ll like you, trust me on that.”
“Alright, though we should get back to work. I don’t think anyone will be favorable if we’re late.” Ryan began to clean up his lunch.
“Yeah, I can see that. Want to do lunch again tomorrow too, if you’re not gonna be too busy.” Xander began to clean his spot up too and smiled at Ryan’s answering smile.
“I’d like that. Talk to you later, Xander.”
“Yeah, later Ryan,” With that both men left the room, missing the redhead slipping out of the shadows. He had heard the entire conversation and realized that his team was being harsh with Ryan Wolfe. He would have to put a stop to that; he didn’t want to lose another trace tech, he didn’t dare acknowledge the little voice in the back of his head saying that he didn’t want Ryan to go for other reasons either.
Xander’s meeting with Eric Delko was just as bad. The Latino male tried to throw his weight around when Xander stuck up for Ryan, so Xander simply fought back.
“So, you think you’re all big and tough; bitching at the innocent party about life being unfair, and making him miserable. I never met Tim Speedle, but you’re just pissing on his grave by acting like this. I’ve lost people, and when someone else came in and took their spot, I didn’t try to beat them down and mold them into the other person’s shoes. I at least gave them a chance to fuck up on their own, instead of putting the last person on such a fucking high pedestal that not even God could reach. So grow up jackass, or someone will say something, and there are enough witnesses to prove it, even if Ryan wouldn’t snitch you out like he should.”
“Prove it that you understand.”
“I lost my ex-fiancée, who I was still good friends with, to a natural disaster. When the people around me tried to set me up with another girl, I didn’t bitch and moan at the chick that was attempting to make something of it. When we lost people in Africa, we didn’t bemoan the new people that came in to give us a hand. The way you’re acting is like a spoiled little brat; way to desecrate your friend’s memory.”
With that Xander went back to his lab, leading Ryan away from the irate Cuban-Russian. He couldn’t help but glare in frustration and sighed when Ryan shook his head at his new friend.
“He’ll be worse now.”
“Then I’ll do what I can to help you out. They have no right to use you like this Ryan. You are not an outlet for their pain. Yes, Tim Speedle is dead, and I know they cared for him deeply, but this lingering will only hurt everyone else more in the long run. Just wait and see.” Ryan nodded and gave Xander a sad smile.
“I know, but rubbing it in their faces doesn’t help either.”
“I’ve seen grieving Ryan, and this team isn’t grieving. They’re all in denial. Oh, they like to think that they’re getting over Speed’s death, but the truth is, they don’t want to believe that he’s dead. With you being here, it’s forcing them to see reality, and they don’t like it.”
“Still, just, be careful, ok?”
“Yeah, I will, as long as you are too.”
With a shake of hands, both men quickly entered their designated areas, and Xander began to work on the open case before him. One year, and then he would be back in Denver. That meant that Miami had one year to get their heads out of their asses and grab onto Ryan before Xander took him with him.”
Xander was having his first day off when he got the call from the hospital. Ryan had been shot in the eye with a nail gun. Grabbing his keys, wallet and jacket, Xander sped down the roads to the hospital that his friend was staying at. JD was going to be pissed when he came down with the others in three days. Ryan had been well liked over the phone, and through emails, by the group, and they were going to take Miami by storm once they heard that Ryan was hurt. Parking his bike and shutting off the engine, Xander dashed to the main desk.
“Ryan Wolfe was just brought in. I’m his emergency contact.” Xander was trying to catch his breath, worried out of his mind that his friend was seriously injured.
“Please follow Nurse Brown to his room, the doctor will meet you there.” The receptionist told him with a kind voice.
“Thank you,” He gave the woman at the desk a smile and motioned his guide to lead the way.
“Do you know if he’s ok? I know the doctor will tell me, but Ryan hates hospitals and I know that he loves his job but the eye is so delicate and-” The nurse cut him off.
“The nail entered the tear duct, and he will be fine. All that he’ll have to do is keep the eye covered for two days and takes his medicine.” Her voice was kind and Xander sagged in relief as he walked.
“Thank God for small miracles; JD would flip if it was going to be worse than that.” The nurse beside him chuckled and pointed at the door before them.
“You’re friend is in here. The doctor will remove the nail in a few moments. He wanted to make sure that it doesn’t require surgery.”
“Thank you Nurse Brown, you are a lifesaver.” Kissing her on the cheek, Xander slipped into the room and nodded at Alexx. She was the only one out of the entire field CSI’s, other than Horatio, that he could stand.
“Doc should be here in a few minutes. So, Ryan, you get a sexy eye patch for a few days. Eye wounds suck so no depth perception for you for forty-eight hours.”
“He’s right,” The doctor entered the room and smiled kindly at Ryan. “We can pull it out; it went into the tear duct only.”
With that said, the doctor pulled the nail from the wound, causing Xander the shiver as he remembered how his eye had been gouged out. Ryan would be lucky, with the right meds; he might need glasses in ten years instead of losing his sight.
“Alexx, what happened? Where was his back up?” The sigh was his answer, and he waited for Alexx to confirm it.
“This was supposed to be Eric’s case. But because of a situation, Ryan was called in and took his place. Eric was supposed to back Ryan up as he looked over the crime scene again, and only showed up after Ryan got shot in the eye.” Sad brown eyes looked up at Xander and he gave her a strained smile.
“Ryan, you’ll be staying with me. I have two of the guest rooms set up, and the guys can puppy pile in my living room, the other fixed spare room, or bunk with me. I can guarantee that Nathan will look you over, JD will fuss, Chris will glare at the wound, not you, Buck will cuss up a storm, Ezra will plot, Vin will begin to make plans to hide the bodies, and Josiah will cook for an army. Now, I want you to sleep while Alexx gets your medicine, and I’ll sit here with you to keep the son of a bitch out.” Getting a sleepy and pained smiled; Ryan finally succumbed to the drugs in his system as Xander began to keep watch.
“How is he?” Xander wasn’t surprised to hear Horatio’s voice and looked at the man with old eyes.
“He’ll be fine with some rest, food, and medicine. Will you discipline Eric?”
“Action is already being taken, I give you my word.”
“Good; I’d hate being in jail because I killed your underwater recovery agent. If he makes one pot shot at Ryan, I make no promises on my temper; same with Calleigh. Both have been bitchy about Ryan for no reason, and while I know you and Alexx are trying, those two are hurting him badly Horatio. Please fix it, or Chris will when he’s down in three days.”
“I promise Xander, that the pair of them will see past this and work accordingly. If I have to have Ryan work with me, then we’ll do that if it comes down to it.”
“Thank you Horatio. I know you’re trying to get them to see, Alexx too, but this was just too far. Eric can have all the issues he wants, as long as he warns you before hand, that’s fine. But he reeks of pot H. I know he’s not high, but he reeks of it, and that is a major problem.”
“Someone in his family is ill.”
“That’s fine, I don’t need to know. But if IAB finds out, he’ll attack Ryan first. Ryan saw rolling paper in his kit. That is not something you see at work, and IAB is bound to ask him if he knows anything. This could hurt the team as well. Give Eric time off if you have too H, just make sure that he stops smelling like pot when he gets his ass to work.”
With his piece said, Xander went back to watching over his friend, and prayed that Eric stayed away. The Cuban-Russian was causing too many problems within Ryan’s psyche, and he knew that the continuous barbs were killing Ryan’s self esteem. Team Seven hadn’t arrived to work with Ryan yet, so even their platitudes couldn’t help until three days from now, and they were going to flip. The people at the MDPD would rue the day that Eric Delko let his team mate get so injured. The fact that he had sick family and didn’t tell anyone made it just that much worse, since it implied that he didn’t even trust his boss with that critical information.
Horatio watched Xander for a few moments before leaving with a sigh. His intern had a right to be upset with Calleigh and Eric. His two level threes were acting like children with broken toys. The only thing that kept him from firing them was their records, and that they were still dear friends of his. Seeing Eric coming up the hall, he went to stop the other man, simply because Eric and Horatio would be thrown out if Xander lost his temper, and let Eric have the verbal lashing he deserved.
Xander watched Horatio leave, and heard him talking to Eric. There were a few heated words followed by a sullen ‘yes Horatio’ before both men left. Sighing, Xander waited for Alexx to return and the time to bring Ryan home.
20282/50000 almost half way!!!!! *dances*