Show: CSI: Miami
Author's Note: So, I've dabbled in fanfiction before, but never in this fandom, and certainly never with a character that's been dead since before I began watching the show, but they were showing re-runs with Speed, and I work the nightshift with nothing else to do - and, well, it just seemed like the kind of deal he and Calleigh would make. Anyway, what I mean to say is that I'm new to this, so any and all feedback is welcome.
Disclaimer: If I owned 'em, he wouldn't have left the show, and he certainly wouldn't have been replaced with Ryan.
“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know,” Bing Crosby crooned into Speed’s ears. He would never admit that he had sappy crooner Christmas music piping through his notorious headphones, but despite his affinity for Miami every year at Christmas he missed the snow that Syracuse had always had an abundance of around this time of year.
“Because there should be snow,” he muttered absently to himself, his focus never leaving the evidence in front of him. He was planning to work through Christmas again this year, much to his mother’s disappointment, and despite his genuine desire to see Christmas as it should be - “snow-covered”- once again. He couldn’t face going back to New York. There was nothing dramatic about it. There were no skeletons in his New York closet, and his childhood was safely behind him. The problem was that his mother wanted (more) grandchildren.
It had become increasingly obvious to Tim that his mother was having difficulty accepting that with her eldest son, what you saw really was what you got. He was never going to be cheerful and outgoing. He was a quiet loner with an encyclopedic memory, and interests just as broad, topped off with wit dry enough to start a forest fire - and he lived inside his own mind. So, while the women-folk didn’t seem to mind him too much when he went clubbing with Delko, he just couldn’t find anyone that he wanted to let into the world he lived in, and though he knew it would sound arrogant if he ever voiced it, he also knew he had never met a woman that would be able to keep up with him as he devoured book after book, journal after journal, and learned, then mastered skill after skill.
If there was going to be a woman in his life she was going to be a partner, not just someone who shared one or two of his more “normal” interests. Mother-Dearest didn’t understand that, she just wanted him “settled and happy” but their definitions of happy clearly didn’t match up as well as she thought they did, and so, he stayed in Miami and worked through another palm tree, sand riddled Christmas.
Calleigh entered the trace lab. He turned in his seat, but she waved a dismissive hand at the silent “Need me?” his expression had asked. To the uninitiated it would have looked as though she had completely blown him off, but she knew that Speed inhabited his own world. She did it too, and she hated being forced out of hers, and wasn’t about to inflict that on him. Not if she could help it, always apologetically when she couldn’t. She also knew that just as her world sometimes seeped out into the ballistics lab, his sometimes leeched out into the trace lab. She was in his private sanctuary, and respected that. The only reason she was treated to the “Need Me?” glance rather than his “Completely Professional” face (as Horatio, and Eric always received) was that she wasn’t going to make him take off those headphones and talk unnecessarily.
Speed turned back to his work aware that Calleigh was rifling through the evidence envelopes at the other end of the layout table but comfortable (enough) with her presence to return his concentration back to the evidence in front of him. He had learned long ago that concentration such as his was a double-edged sword. On one hand, he was far more productive than many of his coworkers, but conversely, when so completely absorbed in whatever he was doing or reading he forgot the world around him. More than once as a teenager he had sat down in some corner of the library to read a chapter or two and only looked up after closing the volume and only then realizing that the sun had long ago set and the library had closed hours before. It had gotten to the point that one of the librarians left him sandwiches and a key to the storage closet where she had stashed a blanket for him. It was easier than trying to get his attention once he was “sucked in” she had explained. That and, she had continued her mouth twitching slightly as she concealed a smile, she had no intention of getting in the way of a teenager so obviously bent on being the best-read man in the state before he was twenty.
When Calleigh found the envelope she had come for and turned to leave she was surprised to see Speed contentedly smiling to himself as he carefully worked out the angles and pieces of a crime scene sketch. Speed was watching the pieces of his current case fall into place, his mind clicking away at full speed, and simultaneously lost in memories of “his library” and librarian. He had donated a large sum to that library immediately after he was free of student loans, and now there was a quiet corner niche in that library with a couch and a lamp, and plague with her name on it. No one in town was sure what the librarian had done to deserve such an honour, but rumours spread like wildfire once the local press had gotten wind of one of the stipulations of the donation. Namely, that the couch had to collapse, futon-like, into a bed. The librarian had, as Tim knew she would, enjoyed the pseudo-scandal and ceaseless speculation about what secret she had that called for that kind of honour.
As if on cue, just as Tim began to feel the tiniest bit homesick, his mother called. He glanced at the phone, and exhaled, the picture of control as he reached over and picked it up from the table where it lay beside his scene photos. Calleigh frowned. The phone hadn’t rung, yet he popped one headphone off his ear and answered it. How, with his music running, and apparently immersed in evidence and a pleasant daydream, had he noticed the phone? It had only barely vibrated. Calleigh wondered briefly what it must be like to live inside a mind as deep, robust and clearly observant as Speed’s was. Shaking her head, she turned to leave him to his phone call and evidence.
“Hi, Mom,” Speed said into the phone, tone completely neutral.
Calleigh stopped at the door. Mom? Really? This was too interesting to walk out on, there was a chance at insight into the lump of clever obsidian sitting behind her if she stayed and listened even to only one side of a conversation with “Mom”.
“No, Mom,” he said in a slightly tight tone, “he’s telling you the truth. I didn’t draw the short end of the stick. I volunteered to work the next couple of days.”
Calleigh’s jaw dropped and she whirled around to gape at him. Who VOLUNTEERED to work over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?! Judging from the earful Tim was receiving, that was audible even from her spot at the doorway she wasn’t the only surprised by such an outlandish action. Speed, apparently unruffled, though completely defeated, simply held the phone away from his ear with a resigned air pushed his sketch aside, leaned on the layout table and waited for his mother’s tirade to subside. He glanced over his shoulder at Calleigh. She stepped up to the table beside him clearly waiting to speak with him after this phone call, though he couldn’t imagine about what.
“...when you know we just want to see you! And see you happy! Is that really too much to ask?! That you come home now and then, and that just once you bring a nice girl with you?! Why, Timothy, is that too much for you to do for your mother?”
“Mother,” Tim said into the phone, which was once again against his ear, “we’ve been through this already. I’m the single guy around here, and I don’t really have any friends down here outside of the team - I know, all the more reason for me to come home-” Calleigh grinned as she heard Tim recite the statement in unison with his mother as she attempted to scold him, “- but, it just makes sense to let everyone else go home to their families. Someone has to work and I’d rather it was me than one of the guys with kids at home waiting for him, or a girlfriend who will just be pissed at him for being late.”
Calleigh could, quite abruptly hear Mrs. Speedle again since Tim was, once again, holding the phone a good five inches from his ear.
“...you COULD have a girlfriend Timmy! Or kids! If you’d get out of that lab, or get rid of all those books and just go out and meet a nice girl! I hate to think of you alone over the holidays. You know, your brother and cousins all have spouses and the kids just love you - so, I know you’re good with ‘em. It’s not your looks that keep ‘em away Timmy! Just go out and find someone! For you to be so alone and to know that you CHOOSE it -”
Tim sighed. He didn’t choose it. He hated it actually, but no string of one night stands or bad dates was going to solve it. He hoped the heat he felt in his cheeks was only heat and not colour for Calleigh to see, and that his eyes concealed the frustration and bitterness that he could feel building behind them. This was why he was staying in Miami, because if he went home this conversation would only continue and there would likely be a few nice young women his mother knew mysteriously invited to Christmas dinner to boot. Calleigh, while she didn’t see the bitterness, or the hurt that Tim felt, he was too good at control for that, knew it must be there, and even if it wasn’t couldn’t stand to hear Speed spoken to like that even if this woman was his mother. Calleigh was never one to stand idly by, she was a woman of action. So, she plucked the phone right out of his hand.
“Mrs. Speedle?” she said into the phone, clearly and loudly. Tim hit the stop button and pulled his headphones off completely, but was then at a loss for what to do and so simply stared at Calleigh as she took control of the situation. For a moment, mother and son had something in common - stunned silence.
“Mrs. Speedle?” Calleigh repeated. “I’m Calleigh, and I just want you to know that your son does not waste his life down here in Miami, that he won’t be alone this Christmas,” she added flashing a smile at Tim as he gaped at her, and attempted to take the phone back. She swatted him away. “Furthermore,” she continued moving a few steps away from him to the other side of the layout table, “I happen to like his books, AND we’ll both see you for New Year’s. It was going to be a surprise since I’ve been begging to meet Timmy’s family for months now and we thought that a day all about fresh beginnings would be perfect, but now I’ve had to tell you and spoil the surprise all because you can’t see past your desire for grandchildren to see your son for the man he is.” When Calleigh got no response save stunned silence, she added a “Merry Christmas, Mom” icier than Syracuse had even experienced and sharply snapped the phone shut.
Calleigh smiled sweetly, triumphantly at Tim as she handed the phone back to him. Tim, though he was quiet by nature, rarely found himself at a loss for words when he wanted them. At the moment, however, he was completely speechless.
“Um...Cal...my mother...but, we,” he was processing all that she had said and implied faster than he could spit it back out into verbal form. He raked his hand through his hair and tried again.
“You...my books...we’ll see her...”
“New Years?!” he finally managed, looking at her in complete confusion.
Calleigh was having trouble forming words herself still somewhere between seething at Speed’s mother, and laughing at his newly discovered incoherence.
“Calleigh,” he said, still clearly baffled, “we,” he motioned to her, and then himself. “We are not a couple, and you have never begged to meet my family - and New Years?!”
“I know that you don’t choose to be alone,” she said suddenly, quickly becoming serious. “I know that, and it bothered me to hear her talk like that about all the things that make you you.”
“Calleigh,” he said again sinking down now, and letting his head drop onto his arms on top of the layout table.
“Calleigh, New Years?”
His voice was muffled since he had buried his head in hands and seemed likely never to resurface. Calleigh giggled, and he looked up at her suddenly incredulous. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate that she took offense on his behalf, in fact that touched him deeply, but what in the world had she been thinking? And now she was giggling?
“New Year’s,” she said firmly, eyes sparkling. “I’ll go home with you, and pretend to be the perfect and completely smitten girlfriend. Come on,” she wheedled when he groaned. “It’ll be fun. We’ve both got more vacation saved up than we’ll ever use, and I know you miss the snow. We’ll go, convince them there’s nothing wrong with you and then hit up New York for a few days and be back at the lab before Eric manages to make a mess of things.”
“You,” he said, carefully emphasizing each word, “are insane.”
“Perhaps,” she shrugged, “but if a little insanity will save you from phone calls like that, then
I’d be happy to be crazy for you.” Seeing that he was still unconvinced that this was the best course of action, she tried again.
“Tim, I get it. Okay? I’m lucky - sort of - my parents gave up on the whole “settle-down-and-become-a-Mommy” routine. They still think there’s something wrong with a woman who can’t get a man down the aisle though and I hate it when they bring it up, because I don’t choose to be alone either. If it’ll make you feel better, you can owe me a holiday with my family as the doting boyfriend. How’s the 4th of July sound?” she added playfully.
“You’re serious.” He couldn’t believe it.
“Yup.” She nodded cheerfully for emphasis.
“New Year’s?” he asked again.
“You keep saying that.”
“With my family...”
“Yup,” she could see the wheels turning in his mind.
“And then the 4th of July in Louisiana?” he asked, smiling now.
“With doting, don’t forget the doting.”