Fandom: CSI: Miami
Pairing: Horatio Caine/Maxine Valera
Summary: The events of ‘Big Brother’ take their toll on Horatio.
Notes: Set during ‘Big Brother’, spoilers for the episode.
4. Another Night
“You wanted to see me, Sir?”
Valera had been watching Horatio silently while he finished talking with Detective Salas. Horatio looked uncomfortable as he spoke with the Yelina, shifting on his feet and trying to avoid eye contact with her.
Horatio turned to Valera at the sound of her voice. Valera studied Horatio carefully as he glanced at the blood stained handkerchief in his hands. Handing it over to Valera, Horatio asked her to run the blood sample.
Horatio’s body language and tone of voice caught Valera’s attention; there was something significant about what she was being asked to do. Valera didn’t know what case Horatio was working on but the handkerchief was not bagged and sealed. It wasn’t evidence. It was personal.
Valera asked what Horatio’s time frame was, his simple response: as soon as possible. Nodding Valera told him that could be arranged, hoping that her answer would be satisfactory.
Horatio glanced up at Valera and she was surprised to see the confusion raging in his eyes. Something serious was playing on Horatio’s mind and Valera had no idea what it was.
They shared a brief glance until Valera broke away, wanting to get started on Horatio’s sample. She was certain that expediency was called for.
Horatio watched Valera go, confident that he could trust her to be discreet about his request. Discretion was something he desperately needed at the moment. Horatio was still quite shaken by the sight of Suzie’s daughter, Madison, a little girl who bore such a great resemblance to both Horatio and his brother, Raymond. Horatio had little doubt what the results of the DNA test would show, but nevertheless he needed to see the proof to confirm his belief. Trust but verify. The events of Raymond’s death had been questionable at best. Now, it appeared as though Ray’s actions leading up to the end of his life had been just as questionable.
Horatio wanted the truth about Raymond, no matter where it might take him next. Whether or not that truth could be shared with Yelina was another problem entirely.
Valera moved Horatio’s sample to the top of her pile when she returned to the DNA lab, starting work on it immediately.
It was clear Horatio wanted discretion with regard to his request. The only problem with this was that Valera wasn’t sure how official it was and what documentation should be made, she could not simply run the sample ‘off the books’ , unless of course she wanted to attract attention. Protocol stated she had to log it in as something. In the end, Valera decided to document it as an exclusionary reference sample logged by Lieutenant H. Caine. A minimum of detail which would hopefully draw no unwanted scrutiny.
After printing out the report Valera went in search of Horatio. Having checked his office with no success, Valera made her way to the front desk making sure Horatio had not left the building. From there she was directed to the evidence vault.
Valera found him there, staring at a plastic evidence bag. She thought it contained bullets, but could not be sure. Watching him, Valera realised that Horatio looked completely lost. She also realised that he had not heard her entering the room. He was aware of nothing but the evidence in his hand. Usually it was he who snuck up on her, but this time Valera had managed to catch Horatio unaware.
Valera continued to approach Horatio, but it was not until she was almost next to him that he finally realised he was no longer alone, jumping slightly and looking up at her.
“This fast enough for you?” Valera asked, offering the file to him. Horatio didn’t take it straight away. Nor did he say anything. Horatio was only able to open and close his mouth wordlessly, struggling to regain his composure. Valera filled the silence and continued talking, shocked that Horatio appeared so rattled. “Blood on the handkerchief. Have anything to compare it to?” Valera asked, guided by her curiosity, but also hoping to snap Horatio out of his silence.
Finally Horatio spoke, stumbling over his words as he did so, “No. No, uh, thank you.” He took the file from Valera.
Valera offered him a slight reassuring smile, “Sure.” Valera continued to give him a long appraising look before turning and leaving Horatio alone once more.
As she reached the door Valera heard the unmistakable sound of paper being screwed up accompanied by Horatio’s angry growl of, “Raymond!”
Valera lost track of Horatio throughout the rest of the day. Whatever he was working on, it was keeping Horatio very busy.
While she did not see Horatio, Valera did hear a number of whispered conversations about him.
Valera heard snippets of conversations and started putting information together. For the most part people were talking about Horatio, Yelina and Raymond, which Valera learned was the name of Horatio’s dead brother, who had been an undercover narcotics Detective. It was at that point that Valera began to realise what the significance of the blood sample Horatio had her test was. Valera was also surprised to discover that the circumstances of Raymond’s death were murky at best. Nobody seemed to have any real information, just idle speculation, so ultimately Valera stopped listening. This did not stop Valera from continuing her own internal speculation throughout the rest of the day, as she tied to fit together what she knew with what she had heard.
Valera didn’t see Horatio again until the next morning, wearing a look of grim determination on his face. The level of gossip increased steadily throughout the day as it emerged that Horatio had arrested a man named Bob Keaton for the murder of his younger brother, Raymond Caine.
Horatio was an easy man to spot, even in a crowded bar.
Valera saw him sitting at the counter, head down and shoulders slumped, nursing a bottle of beer. After a moment of indecision, Valera decided to ditch her friends and join Horatio. They were about to move on to a club, but Valera told them it had been a long day and she was going to head home. As her friends slipped out of the room, Valera crossed over to Horatio.
Sliding into the seat next to him, Valera said, “We have to stop meeting like this.”
Horatio turned and offered her a bemused look but said nothing, taking another swig of beer. Horatio held the bottle up in question and Valera nodded. Gesturing to the bartender another two bottles appeared in front of them.
Horatio looked tired, like he hadn’t slept the previous night. Which, given the events of the past two days, he probably hadn’t.
Valera decided that Horatio likely had no desire to talk about his brother anymore; he looked drained by everything that had happened.
So instead she asked, “What’s your favourite sport?”
Horatio turned to her in surprise, with a faint smile forming on his lips. He visibly relaxed, having expected a far different question, before answering, “Basketball.”
Horatio turned fully to Valera, resting an elbow on the countertop. Valera moved to mirror his position.
“I played a lot in High School. Now, I get very few opportunities, but I still enjoy it.”
They lapsed into easy conversation, Horatio allowing Valera to distract him from his earlier brooding.
Horatio was curled around Valera, his chest pressed against her back. One arm pillowing his head, the other draped over her hip.
They lay in silence, bodies rapidly cooling with only a light sheet covering their lower halves. Horatio lightly kissed Valera’s shoulder and said, “Thank you, for not asking.”
Valera turned so that she was now lying on her back. Horatio readjusted, moving his hand so that it was splayed out on her stomach. He propped his head up so he was looking down at Valera.
“I figured if you wanted to talk, you would.” Valera ran her hand along his arm, giving him a silent reassurance that she was willing to listen.
Horatio nodded but said nothing more.
They lapsed back into silence until Horatio finally said, “My brother, Ray, worked narcotics.” Valera nodded; this much she had learned the day before. “Ray was killed during a drug buy, by Bob Keaton. Bob killed him, because Ray got in his face. Bob was abusing his wife.” Horatio paused, deciding how much he wanted to reveal to Valera. Horatio continued but did not look up at Valera. Instead, he watched his fingers forming slow patterns on the taught skin of her stomach. “There have always been doubts as to whether Ray, was dirty.” Valera had overheard that particular rumour too. “At the very least he was using meth and having an affair with Suzie, Bob’s wife. I still don’t know if he was dirty. I,” Horatio struggled to get the words out. “I, hate myself for considering that he might have been dirty but, I have nothing solid to either prove or disprove it. The drugs may have been a necessity to pass, to complete his cover. I thought I knew my brother, but I don’t know if he was capable of betraying his oath.”
Valera reached up and softly stroked Horatio’s hair, offering him comfort.
Horatio looked up at her.
“Ray has a daughter.”
“The blood sample,” Valera said, connecting the pieces, confirming what she suspected.
Horatio nodded. “Madison. I knew, the moment I saw her. I knew. I, uh, couldn’t tell Yelina. She saw the signs of an affair and attributed them to the meth.” Horatio sighed deeply, “I hate lying to her about him.”
“You want to protect her. And her memory of him.” Valera understood what he was trying to do.
“It’s stupid,” Horatio declared, dropping onto his back.
“No, it’s not,” Valera insisted, tucking herself against Horatio’s side. Valera lifted Horatio’s arm, draping it around her shoulders while sliding a leg over his.
Horatio ran his fingers through Valera’s short hair, “Thank you, for letting me talk.”
Valera snuggled deeper into Horatio’s side but said nothing more, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
They stayed this way until Valera drifted into a slight sleep. Horatio stayed awake. Valera’s eyes fluttered open not long after she fell asleep.
Leaning up Valera kissed the underside of Horatio’s chin, “I should head home.”
“Don’t. Stay here. It’s late, you, do not need to go anywhere, except back to sleep,” Horatio said quietly.
“Ok, but only if you sleep too.” Valera felt Horatio’s chest rise and fall as he laughed quietly.
“Deal.” Horatio reached out and turned off the last light, drawing Valera closer as he did so.