Notes: because the year and a half anniversary of my back going in a permanent manner is today, I decided to write something funnier. Also, forgot Marisol when I was writing it. Oops.
(or I Thought OCD Was Bad)
Eric answered his ringing phone. "Delko."
//Mr. Eric Delko?// the female voice asked.
"This is him, why?"
//This is Nurse Pritchard down at Doctor Abergand's office and you're listed as Mr. Wolfe's contact number in case of emergencies, you or his lieutenant. He's going to need a ride home and probably some time off but I couldn't get his lieutenant.//
"He's in court at the moment," he agreed. "What's wrong? Something with his eye?"
//Um, no, he had a bad reaction to some suspicious bloodwork and we had to sedate him, sir. He said it was all right to tell you while he was laughing hysterically and we couldn't get him calmed down.//
"Suspicious.... Define suspicious?"
//It came up that he's pregnant.//
"Okay, yeah, I'd consider that suspicious. I'll be right down and he'll need forms for his boss. An excuse or something. You're down at Memorial, right?"
//We are and the doctor's already scheduled some follow-up bloodwork and things. We don't think it's wise for him to be working until we figure out what this might be.//
"That's fine. I'll let our lieutenant know and come pick him up. It'll take me about a half hour."
//That's fine. He's finally succumbed to the sedative. A safe one just in case this is an act of a laughing God somewhere,// she assured him and it sounded like he was smiling.
"That's great. Thanks." He hung up and looked around then burst out laughing himself. He couldn't do it in front of Ryan but damn it, only he could come up pregnant. Horatio walked past. "H!" He came back and walked into the lab so Eric calmed himself down. "Wolfe's doctor just had to sedate him so I've got to pick him up. They're writing him an excuse for a few days."
"Something with his eye?" he asked, starting to frown. That was not a reason to be laughing.
"No, he came up pregnant."
Horatio shook his head. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me right. He got a bit hysterical and they sedated him. They've scheduled him for tests and stuff, but this image of Ryan waddling onto a crime scene just keeps popping up. For some reason in my sister's Hello Kitty maternity t-shirt."
Horatio did crack a small smile at that. "Take him right home, bring me the excuse and what he's going in for please. Don't tell anyone else. He'll never live that down."
"Sure." He went to check out a hummer and go pick him up. By the time he got there Ryan was starting to come around and make a bit of sense. Either that or someone in the background was babbling about babies. "Hi. Delko here to pick up Wolfe."
"This way, sir." She led him back to a room where Ryan was blinking hazily at the ceiling. "He's just now started to wake up."
"Will the pills you gave me hurt the baby?" Ryan asked.
"No, Mr. Wolfe, we chose a safe one," she assured him with a pat to the arm. "Now, you've got a ride home here so let's get you checked out, okay?" Ryan looked at Eric and nodded at that.
"Come on, Wolfe. I've got a hummer so it'll even be a comfortable nap." He helped him up and standing. "Can you walk?" Ryan shook his head but he wobbled out. "Okay. His excuse?"
"The front desk, sir." She led him out and let him pat Ryan down to get his card and co- payment. Then he took his excuse and schedule of follow-ups. "Have a better day, Mr. Wolfe."
"S'okay for now. He can tell everyone," he said with a nod toward Eric. "They'll laugh at him instead." He let Eric guide him outside to the hummer, not even protesting the hand on his back to steady him when he climbed in. "Where am I going?"
"Home. Unless you want to go see Alexx today?"
"No. Please no," he moaned.
"Then we won't. I've got to copy your follow-ups for H, okay?" Ryan nodded. "So quick stop somewhere. You need juice or anything?"
"Gun," he said, nodding once, patting himself down.
"It's in your locker and you can't have it," Eric assured him, heading to a nearby grocery store to make a copy on their copier by the desk. It only cost a dime and Horatio would pay him back if he missed it later. Then he got Ryan home and up into his apartment, making him go upstairs and into his bedroom. He untucked the firmly tucked sheets and pushed Ryan down onto the bed, taking off his shoes.
"Fine." He finished getting him down to his boxers. "I'm never mentioning you're wearing Kermit the Frog boxers," he said grimly. "I'm putting your follow-ups on the fridge, Ryan. Okay? Don't forget them." Ryan nodded at that and Eric left, going to do that then heading back to the office once he had locked the door. He walked in and found Horatio waiting for him just inside the door since it was starting to rain. "Here." He handed over the paperwork. "The original's on his fridge. He asked for his gun."
"I can take that from him. Did you check for a backup?" Eric winced. "How sedated was he?"
"Fairly. He asked me to undress him, H."
"Then he should be fine for an hour or so. I have a spare key to his place so I'll check on him on my way home. Do they have any idea what this could be?"
"Nope. They've got him scheduled for the big three: labs, ultrasound, and an internist."
"That's good. I hope it's not something serious."
"He said if he was I could tell everyone so they'd laugh at me instead. The nurse joked about it being a safe sedative in case he was really pregnant."
Horatio looked at him. "I'd hope it wouldn't come to that, Eric," he said firmly, staring him down.
"I didn't want to laugh but the picture of him in that shirt wouldn't go away!" he defended.
"Head back to work. I'll check on him later."
"He moaned when I mentioned Alexx's name."
"He'll probably see her tomorrow after his labwork." Eric walked off while Horatio considered it. Then he went to his office to make a private phone call. "That green, sparkly goop you took from our lab during Mr. Wolfe's case, Agent Johnson. It wasn't something that could make his bloodwork come up funny, is it?" he demanded. His evasive answer left no doubt that was the cause. "Would you like to share what it was considering Officer Wolfe's glove did tear during the lab portion and some did get onto him and now they're sending him for more bloodwork?" He got hung up on. He pulled out the vial Ryan had managed to keep and took it down to Eric. "Run this. I want to know what it is."
"Is this the stuff the Feds confiscated from Ryan's case a few months back?" Horatio nodded. "You think it was this stuff?"
"I know it was that stuff. I want to know what it is. That way we can make plans, Eric."
"Sure, H." He got to work on the vial, taking out a sample to start in the chemical analysis machines. Horatio stood and waited, making him a bit nervous, but it came out. He let him get the printout, backing off at the look on his face. "That it?"
"We're in trouble," he said, heading out.
Eric watched him go then put the results onto the screen, staring at the components. Hormones, a few unidentifieds, and one spike of.... He blinked at that and sealed the original container firmly, then cleared everything about the search off the system.
Horatio let himself into Ryan's apartment. "Mr. Wolfe?" he called.
"Tired," came from the kitchen. "I hate sedatives."
"Fortunately it was a safe one," he said grimly. Ryan gave him an evil look. He handed over the report. "The green goop from your case that the Feds sealed."
Ryan looked at it then at him. "I think I need to see my doctor again today."
"I'll take it over if you want," he offered. "Can you trust them to be discreet?" Ryan shrugged, looking a bit lost. "Then we'll deal with it. Keep your other appointments."
"Yes. You must. Because we don't know how this was done or if it's even possible that it could hurt you."
"I'm not exactly built for that if it's a correct test, boss. I'd say it's going to hurt something."
"Probably your back," he joked lightly.
"Don't remind me." He sipped his water. "Now what?"
"For now, we keep the follow-ups. Make sure the initial test was correct. Just because you got a lot of hormones doesn't mean it's automatically possible."
"Good point. I hope." He frowned. "Who picked me up?"
"Oh well," he sighed. "I'll hear about my frog boxers later on I guess." He walked past him and went to lay on the couch. "I'm going to stay right here."
"Good. Keep those appointments and call me as soon as the results are done."
"Want to go to the ultrasound with me, Horatio?"
"If you want. That should be a definitive test."
"Yeah, yay me. Mother of the damn century," he said, sipping more of his water. "Would you please take my backup out of my bedside table and the sharp knives? They're in the second drawer from the dishwasher."
"If you need me too." He went to sanitize the house of methods of quick suicide. He came back out with the gun in his pocket and everything else in a plastic bag. "Call me if you need to talk, Ryan. Immediately."
"Sure, boss. Thanks."
"You're welcome. The ultrasound is in two days, correct?" Ryan nodded. "Good. I'll be there." He walked out, closing and locking the door behind himself.
Ryan looked up at the ceiling. "Do you hate me too?" he asked God. "I know I'm a bad replacement part, but really! I'm trying!"
Horatio looked up from his reading when the technician came into the ultrasound room. She gave them a confused look. "I'm his escort."
"That's fine, if he wants you here." She sat down and prepared the solution and machine. "Now, Mr. Wolfe, I was told why you're here. We're going to do some hunting around to see where the growth that's causing that false positive is. All right?" He nodded. "Are you comfortable?"
"Could use another pillow. My sinuses drain when I lay flat." She got him another of the thin pillows and his arm under his head with them was enough. "Okay, I'm ready. Let's find this little sucker." Horatio gave him a look. She started the machine and applied gel to his bare stomach, then moved the wand over the first spot. The most likely spot in pregnant women. They watched the screen with her. She moved it right then left, suddenly frowning and pushing in a little bit harder in one spot, enlarging the view. She hit a few keys. Then she moved the wand to the side and gasped.
Horatio reached over to flip the switch that said 'heartbeat' letting it echo. "Not one word outside of his doctor," Horatio warned "We still don't know how this happened," he lied. She nodded, looking numb. "Can you please tape that or whatever?"
"Sure," she squeaked, hitting that sequence and putting in a tape.
"Can you estimate how far along I am?" Ryan sighed.
"Um..." She moved the wand a bit then looked at him. "About nine or ten weeks I'd say."
"Which fits in with the goop," Ryan complained, looking at his boss.
"Ryan, I don't want to ask this...."
"I haven't had sex in over a year, Horatio."
"Then we'll need to test for DNA probably. When is it safe to do that?"
"We can do it as part of an amnio at six months. In this case your doctor should demand that you get one done." Ryan just nodded once. The tape ejected and she turned off the machine before cleaning off his stomach. "I won't say a word. Take the tape to his doctor's office, sir. That way he can make any decisions quickly." She handed over the tape. "Let's get you back to the changing area." She led them back there then went to take a break of her own and pray for a quick and easy solution for that young man. Before someone leaked the news. Because even nurses gossiped. She decided she'd be going to church this weekend too, just to pray for him.
Horatio got Ryan into his hummer. "Where is your doctor's office?"
"Same building, sixth floor. I should go up."
"Let's call first. He may not have time." He let Ryan have his cellphone, already dialed.
"Hi, this is Ryan Wolfe. I've got a tape of the ultrasound that the doctor needs to see immediately according to the tech. Yeah, like immediately today. Last is fine," he agreed. "I can use the sulking time anyway. Thank you." He hung up. "We're last on his schedule at three. She figured we'd have to bring something back from there."
"Thank you." He took his phone back. "Do you want to go home?"
"It's about ten, Horatio. Right now, I want a stiff drink." The look on his boss's face ruled that one out. "I don't know what I'm doing."
"That's fine. I understand that, Ryan. For right now, think. You've got a few hours to weigh options because I'm assuming one of the first things he's going to mention is how dangerous it is." He made him look at him again. "I will stand behind your decision, even if you do decide to terminate it."
Ryan blinked. "Really?"
Horatio smiled. "You get to tell Alexx and Calleigh while I'm *far* away, but yes."
"I'll let Eric tell 'em. That way they can't laugh."
"I'm not sure they would if they realized you were serious."
"Show them the tape?"
"After you decide what to do." Ryan nodded at that. "Station, lunch?"
"Mall? The one with the indoor garden?"
"If you want. I'll pick you back up at two-thirty?"
"Sure." They headed that way, Ryan going to wander and think. Because he wasn't sure he wanted to make this decision. He sat down among the flowers and stunted trees, thinking back. He wasn't a sentimental guy. He knew the problems coming because no way was this natural or good for his body. Then there was the whole press issue. Someone would leak it sometime. Horatio may be able to stick up for him but not hide him that well. Not to mention the feds would come looking when they found out. He frowned and went to log in at the internet cafe in the mall, going online to research pregnancy topics. No way was he going into this blind. He also looked up abortions just in case. You had to love something like WebMD and Yahoo! Health.
Ryan looked at his doctor when he came into the exam room. "I take you saw the tape?"
"I also confirmed it with the technician. That was a good thing you did, not making her write it down, Mr. Wolfe."
"A few months back I got splashed with some green goop that got confiscated by the Feds," he admitted, handing over the analysis sheet. "That's what hit me. That would've been twelve weeks ago."
"In a woman this might make her fertile," he admitted. "Any idea how it happened in your case?" Ryan shook his head. "Not yet or not at all?"
"I haven't had sex in over a year, doctor."
"Oh. Sorry." He sat on his rolling stool, looking up at Ryan. "Okay, we have to talk."
"Is it in a bad spot?"
"No, actually it's on the better side. It's not tangling with any organs at this moment. It's only slightly off center really. Which would mean a surgical procedure to remove it." Ryan slumped. "Were you thinking...." Ryan shrugged. "I'd have to say it's going to be nearly impossible for you to carry to term safely, Ryan."
"I know. I looked up what abdominal tumors did to your body," he admitted. "Not much different than pregnancy." He frowned. "I have no idea at this moment what I want. I know the reasonable thing would be to remove it."
"This isn't a reasonable or logical question. It's an emotional one," he agreed. "We have some time before this decision becomes critical. At this stage, it's barely noticeable as a human. I have an OB in mind who could do it quietly. If we waited much longer, there's no way to mask the fact of what's going on. Then someone would tell someone else. Even if we say it's a tumor with additional DNA involved." Ryan nodded slowly. "You only have a few weeks to make this decision. Within the week if possible."
"Okay. I'll think about it some more and do some more research. Thank you."
"You're welcome. I'll expect a call soon. Because if you do decide to have it, it's going to be a large strain on you and we'll have to start making plans now. Especially since you'd probably go into early labor when the baby got too big to comfortably fit your abdominal cavity."
"I'll definitely need extra situps," Ryan joked. That got a weak smile. "The usual proscriptions? No drinking, smoking, medicines?" A pamphlet was handed over. "Thank you." He slid off the table. "Do I owe for this one?"
"No, not in the least. Go think, Ryan." He nodded, heading out to find Horatio out there. "Please make the right decision," he said quietly, making notes in his chart.
Ryan walked into the break room, sitting across from Eric. "Wanna see the ultrasound tape?"
Eric spluttered. "Excuse me?"
"Wanna see the ultrasound tape?" he asked again. "I've got about a week to make a decision. I'm thinking. You already know and Horatio was there with me."
"Is... You are?" Ryan nodded. "How?"
"Still not sure on that part. Happened about two weeks after that case and the accidental exposure." Eric shuddered. "And you wanted to work on that one with me," he taunted with a smirk.
Calleigh walked in. "Are you two up to no good?" she teased.
"No, I'm telling him I'm pregnant," Ryan said honestly. She burst out giggling at the joke and gave him a hug around the shoulders. "Want to be an aunt?" he teased.
"I'll be a good aunt," she promised, getting her drink and leaving them alone.
Once they were alone he looked at Eric again. "You get to tell the others. I'm going to be joining Horatio in the Everglades when you tell Alexx."
Eric just shook his head. "I'll put in the tape and run if it's that definitive."
"It is. Heartbeat and all," he sighed. "So I'm have an emotional quandary."
"I've never been there," he offered. "I'll let you talk at me." Ryan shrugged. So Eric got up to close the door. "Just in case. What's the worst thing that can happen if you have it?"
"Death. Or I have a baby to suddenly care for."
"What's the worst that can happen if you don't have it?"
"Death. Either from the surgery or a later complication because we don't know how this has screwed up my body. We don't know it won't spontaneously happen again." He looked grim. "I had Horatio remove all the knives and my backup piece from my house but would you want to come over and have a steak?"
"Sure. Better than having this discussion here." He gathered his things. They found Horatio and Frank talking about a recent case. "H, I'm driving him home and letting him talk to me."
"If that's what he wants," he said, looking at Ryan, who nodded. "Remember I'm available if you need me, Ryan."
"Sure, Horatio. Thanks. Before you ask, Frank, it's nothing *serious* but it's nothing great either."
"Tumor?" he asked.
"Something like that. One with DNA." He shrugged and walked off with Eric. He got into Eric's car. "It is at this stage. It looks more like a dinosaur than a baby human. Have you ever seen the pictures?"
"Not really." He started the car and backed out. "Mostly I heard my sisters complain about the swollen ankles, weight gain, and the constant need to pee." He put them in forward and headed for Ryan's house. "Do we need to stop to pick up steaks?"
"Yeah, probably. Unless you want to cut the large one in my freezer down?"
"Not really." He pulled into a good grocery store and followed Ryan inside. "Anything else we need?"
"Horatio has those at home."
"Sure." He let that thought slip past him. He didn't want to see a knife in Ryan's house at the moment. He went to get some soda for himself, coming back to find Ryan staring at the good steaks but with a cheaper cut in his hand. "Up to you, Wolfe. You're cooking it."
"I'm going to splurge," he decided, putting that back and getting some good steaks. He handed them to Eric. "Need veggies or anything?"
"No, I'm good with just steaks. I'd almost suggest beer but you're probably not allowed." Ryan shook his head quickly. "Sure. Then let's check out." They headed out and Ryan paid then they got into the car and headed for Ryan's house. It was time to talk and Ryan obviously needed to.
Ryan looked at Horatio the next morning. "I can't. Even if I decided I could I can't. I'd get off the operating table and walk off, Horatio."
"I understand, Ryan. Have you called your doctor?"
"Yes, and he swore at me. He's bringing his OB choice in for a consult in his office. Right now, I need a hug and I can't figure out how without telling Alexx."
"That we can do with some dramatics," Horatio said with a smile. He took the copy he had made of the ultrasound tape and paged Calleigh to AV. "Cooper, I need you to let Alexx, Eric, and Frank Tripp see this. No one else and not you."
"Sure, boss. Something bad? For a case?"
"Something like that. Just stick it in and hit pause immediately please." He did that and left him alone. He paged the others. Calleigh came in first, looking confused. "I want you to watch the tape when Frank and Alexx get here. Then I want you to ask some logical questions. We'll be in my office." He walked out.
She watched him walk off knowing it was something bad. Cryptic and dramatic Horatio only came out when it was something bad going on. Usually something bad going on inside the lab. Calleigh sat behind the controls and switched the frozen picture to the larger screen. It was dark so she pulled down the blinds to block out any excess light. Alexx came in with Frank and Eric. "Horatio said to watch this with Alexx, then ask logical questions? Is he having a theatrical moment?"
"Just watch it," Eric said, sitting down to start the tape. He fast forwarded it, Ryan had said she searched for nearly twenty minutes before she found anything. He rewound it when he saw the blurry shape and then hit play, turning on the speakers.
"That is an ultrasound," Alexx said. She moved closer. "That's a baby!" she said happily. "I'd say about ten weeks. Horatio's going to be a daddy?"
"I don't know," Calleigh said. The tape ended. "Did anything look odd?" The fact Horatio had announced it this way meant it wasn't that straightforward.
"Well, how long did it take them to find it in her uterus?"
"It's not in a uterus, Alexx," Eric sighed. "Eject the tape, Calleigh? The patient's name is probably on it."
Alexx caught the tape and looked at it. "This is ... Ryan's?" She gave him a confused look. "Did he cover for someone?" Eric shook his head.
"Hold on, he was kidding, right?" Calleigh demanded. Eric shook his head. "How did this happen?" she asked, starting to frown.
"Green goop the feds confiscated."
Alexx's eyes went wide. "Excuse me? This is..." Eric nodded.
Frank was still frowning. "He said yesterday it was a tumor with DNA." He let the whole 'how' issue slip aside. "What is he doing?"
"Nothing," Eric told him. "I let him talk at me last night and he figured out around two this morning that even if he wanted to he couldn't go through with it since he's not likely to have another chance. That's why I had to pick him up from the doctors' that day." He looked at the silent Calleigh. "He's a bit upset," he offered.
"No one else knows?" He shook his head. "Why us?"
"You guys have to work with him and cover for him," Frank reminded her. "How long can he cover for?"
"Outside of morning sickness? Maybe six months. Until he starts to show." She popped back in the tape. "Rerun that, Eric. Magnify it if you can." He did that for her, letting her go more slowly this time. "It's overtop of the bend above his colon. That's not a bad spot for it. Could be worse. Shouldn't endanger any organs for a while." She moved closer. "Tail, fingers, toes," she said, counting them mentally. "Looks like ten weeks. Tail's nearly been absorbed."
"That's what he said the ultrasound technician said," Eric told him. "They were talking about running when you found out."
"I'm not sure if I should be horrified or upset or happy for him," Calleigh admitted, looking at Eric. "Aren't you mad?"
"Very. Not at him. At the people who made the stupid goop. We still have to find out how he got pregnant two weeks after his exposure since he said he didn't have sex."
"That means it probably either had DNA in it already or.... Somehow it got transferred in," Alexx said thoughtfully. "We can test for parentage with his amnio. Where is my boy?"
"Horatio said they'd be in his office."
"They were talking about being in the everglades when you guys found out. For obvious reasons we can't tell anyone." That got a nod and they went to find Horatio and talk about it as a group, Calleigh still looking stunned.
Calleigh sat next to him. "I feel like I should be outraged that you're taking this special gift from women but I'm not for some reason."
"That's because I didn't plan this," Ryan pointed out.
She nodded and hugged him. "Then I'm just sorry you're going to have to go through this and I'll be a great auntie," she soothed, patting him on the back.
Alexx sniffled. "I'm going to have a grandbaby." She hugged Ryan.
Frank looked and waved. "For obvious manly reasons I won't be hugging or crying on you but I'll help keep the secret, Wolfe."
"Welcome. Least I can do. Hey, first baby on this shift," he realized. "Unless Delko has some?"
"I've been very careful," Eric said dryly. He nodded at Ryan. "Whatever you want," he reminded him. "They can even throw you a baby shower." Horatio swatted him. "Ow! What was that for."
"For being an idiot," Calleigh told him. "We've got a ways to go before then, Eric." She looked at Ryan. "So, any names yet?"
He looked at her. "I only found out three days ago."
"Sorry." She gave him another hug, Alexx getting his other side.
Eric groaned and held his head. "I've got that stupid image of you in my sister's maternity Hello Kitty t-shirt again," he complained, walking off to get another bottle of water and some tylenol from the box in the break room. He came back and gave some to the others. "Okay. What's next?"
"My first OB appointment," Ryan sighed. "Finding out when I've got to go to lab-only work."
"When your vest doesn't fit or your doctor says so," Horatio told him simply. "From here on out you're also working doubles with someone, Mr. Wolfe. Just in case something happens while you're on a scene."
"Sure, I can understand that. I didn't even want to consider that part of it." He shook his head. "My doctor is not happy with me but he's got a friend he can trust with me, Alexx. I want you to look over her shoulder, okay?" She nodded. "Thank you. You two can chat, get updates, whatever you need to do. But if our mole tells someone else I get to pound him into a greasy spot, right?"
"You would, I think that's fair," Frank agreed.
"What about your reporter buddy?" Eric asked.
"I've known her for years and I often don't think fast enough to stop my mouth. We need to keep Erica away from me."
"Don't worry, we'll do what we can," Calleigh soothed, stroking his arm. "You can even hit her the first time she calls you fat."
He looked at her. "I'm going to be doing situps forever to get my stomach back, aren't I?"
"Probably. Can't tell you from experience though." Eric nodded. "He's had two sisters who've had babies. Ask him."
"At least ten pounds of water on top of the baby," Eric told him. "The more you gain the worse it'll be."
"I'm seeing a lot of grapefruit in my future," Ryan complained.
Alexx swatted him. "You will eat sensibly, Ryan. That's all you should need to do. I'll make sure of it with your new doctor but that's all that should be required. Then we'll talk to her about your physical conditioning." She stood up. "I'm going with you to your next appointment."
"Sure," he agreed. "Saves phone calls later. Thanks, Alexx, for not throwing a fit."
"Oh, I'm going to throw one in my morgue but not at you, sugar. You don't deserve it. The people in some lab somewhere, they're going to get my size seven pumps up their hind end if I ever find them." She patted him on the head and left.
"I'll help by chaining them down," Calleigh assured him. "I'd best get back to work too before the boss gets mean," she said with a grin for Horatio. "Eric?"
"You know I'm there for you, man. Anything except the labor." He left.
Frank nodded after them. "What he said, kid. Just don't share details, okay?" Ryan nodded, grinning a bit. "Thanks." He left.
Ryan looked at Horatio. "That went better than I thought it would."
"They'll get together tonight for a beer and complain, rant, and make homicide plans," he offered, standing up. "You should go home."
"I'm probably fit for duty. Not like the mental loop won't get stuck again next week too."
"Then let's restrict you to the lab for today, just in case. Let me know the minute you get morning sickness, Ryan."
"Why do you think I went to the doctor, Horatio? I haven't kept down breakfast or lunch in a week." He went to get his lab coat from his locker, wisely leaving his gun in there for now. He walked into Trace and Eric gave him a small smile. "I've got to do something."
"I'd be ready for the pretty white jacket with the shiny buckles too," he admitted, handing over a sample. "Here. You do this one. I'm going to work on soil samples."
"Sure. Thanks." He got to work on the sample, checking it over and then preparing it to be run. Calleigh walked in and gave him another hug then left again, making him smile. "Maybe she'll teach it to use a gun."
"Probably," Eric agreed with a small grin. "Especially if it's a girl."
He smirked back. "No teaching my kids how to club."
"Fine. I'll let them figure it out and come to me when they figure out they're lame on the floor," he agreed. "Then I'll teach it about safe sex."
"Since I didn't have any...."
"I know. There's always the full-body condoms like in the Naked Gun movie."
"Yeah, I'm about feeling the need if they can't reverse this," Ryan sighed. Eric gave him an odd look. "What if it doesn't take another exposure to happen again, Eric?"
"Don't say that," he begged. "Please. Just don't." He shuddered. "We've got to figure that out. I've got the sample H kept locked away. We'll figure this out in the next seven months."
"Six. Ten weeks."
"Six then. Just think, you'll get to move." Ryan moaned. "Sorry. I could've mentioned diapers."
Horatio walked in. "Gentlemen, we can hear the discussion in the halls," he warned. He closed the door. "Also, Ryan, you need to work on your OCD issues," he offered. "They're saying that having too clean of an area around newborns can lead to asthma now."
Ryan slumped. "I'll try."
"That's all we ask. Now, do we need help?"
"Please," Eric agreed. He looked at Ryan then at Horatio. "Yelina?"
"I'm not that brave, Eric. I will face down a sniper, a bomb, or a panther. I will not tell Yelina Salas about this incident."
"She'll figure it out eventually. After all, I'll be gaining weight," Ryan sighed. "Eating strange things."
"That's putting it mildly," Eric said with a grimace. "If you end up eating pickles and goldfish on your tacos I'll walk away instead of saying something." Ryan ran to get sick. "Sorry, H."
"No, just another challenge to get through."
"Only six months, H."
"Good point. I can withstand it for that long." He got to work on Ryan's sample so it wouldn't sit in the open for too long.
Ryan walked in a month later, glowing and cheerful. "I feel like the sun is following me," he complained to Calleigh. "I'm happy, but I'm having hot flashes and my life sucks because I can't get into my favorite pants."
She nodded. "You are glowing."
"Are," she promised, patting his hair down. "Go hide before Yelina sees you." He nodded, going to do that. Ryan came walking past her very quickly. "What?"
"Same Feds are here," he explained as he ducked out of the building and around to another entrance.
"Oh, crap," she muttered, heading to handle that. "Hey, Horatio, I haven't seen Eric yet," she said as she leaned into his office. "Have you?"
"It's his day off," he reminded her.
"Oh. No wonder I can't find him." She caught his eye then looked at the fed. "What do you think I should do about the suspect that just got turned over? Go without him or call him?" she asked during the look.
"I'd say let him know but take the detective with you. He swore he was going to sleep in today after a fun night."
"Of course he did," she sighed. "Thanks." She left with that warning in place.
Horatio looked at the agent standing across from him. "Now, you wanted what?"
"We'd like to examine CSI Wolfe after his accidental exposure to that serum."
"No," Horatio said. "I've sent him in for one a few weeks ago and they said he was perfectly fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Why are you so concerned? Does it cause cancer?"
"No, not really. There were some hormonal side effects noted with limited exposure."
"Hmm. That's why I sent him to the doctor's." He leaned back, staring him down. "Why don't you cut to the chase, Agent Johnson?"
"It was some very powerful activators and female hormones, Lieutenant. The scientist was a transexual who was doing some very illegal things." Horatio shrugged. "The side effects could be very serious."
"Let me assure you CSI Wolfe is under very competent care and very close watch in this station, Agent Johnson. The first hint of something going on with his health would be noted and get him to see someone."
"We can't let knowledge get out about this serum."
Calleigh came back and shut the door. "Oh, just stop it! You created something to make men pregnant! You damn idiots are so stupid you couldn't even control your own people and I'm sorry but you're not getting near Ryan. He's already had one really bad problem that nearly made him collapse!"
"Then he miscarried?"
"Why? You're not getting near him and we can protect him if it should happen again."
"That is a question. How long does this serum last, Agent Johnson?" Horatio agreed. "Is it possible that after one miscarriage he might have to go through another one?"
"We're not sure," he admitted.
"Then I want everything you have on this serum," Horatio ordered calmly. "Or else I will take Ryan to his very close friend at Channel Four. Am I clear? I will not see my people hurt for the stupidity of others."
"She wanted it more than anything," he admitted.
"While I admire that trait, I don't care. You're endangering my people's lives because that serum of yours ate through his glove. It didn't tear, some of the sample got on it." The agent paled. "Exactly. Now, I will have all the research so we can make sure he won't be affected a second time," he ordered quietly. "He can do the research himself. That way it's kept quiet and he knows what to expect." That got a glare. "I don't care what your superiors want. He's already had one. We need to know this. As well as how it would have happened."
"Sex," he said bluntly.
"Ryan hasn't slept with anyone in a year, Agent Johnson," Calleigh said plainly. "So no, there's another method. We want a sample big enough to run a mouse test and all the research data."
"I'll do what I can."
"No, you'll give it to me or I'm going to sing to NOW like you wouldn't *believe*," she promised, staring him down. "Wait until my sisters in the National Organization of Women hear about this." He went paler, which was a really bad look with his dark skin. "Am I clear?" He nodded quickly. "Good. Now."
"Tonight," he said, staring back.
"Agreed. There's not much of the sample left."
"Did the transexual who started this off carry successfully?" Horatio asked. The agent shook his head. "Didn't plant correctly?"
"Complications from the weight of the child. They both died her seventh month." He left them alone, going to report that CSI Wolfe had already miscarried once and they weren't sure he wasn't still contagious and able to be caught again. That Caine was demanding a sample and research data so Wolfe himself could do the research and find a way to cure himself. His boss relented after he noted the promises of them going to the press and others and that Caine was vindictive enough to do that. That was going to look bad. This way it would be covered up because there was no way Wolfe wanted this to get out in the open.
Ryan walked past Calleigh the next morning. "Can I be homicidal like this?"
"It's probably not good for you," she admitted. "Why?"
"Natalia just joked about extra weight."
"Well, tact and her, not close friends. Horatio has something for you." He looked at her. "Research."
"I love you guys." He hurried that way.
"Do not run on the stairs, Mr. Wolfe," Horatio warned quietly when he jogged in. He handed over the file and the sealed container of the remaining gel. "You are to find out how it happened and if it will happen again. Am I clear?" He nodded. "Do remember that last time it ate through your glove. You are to lock that in a sealed biohazard container. No one else is to have the key except myself. As far as anyone is concerned, it's a biological substance we found during a raid and we're trying to discover what it is."
"Yes, Horatio. Thank you."
"There is one thing you should be aware of, Ryan. The person who did this did die at seven months." Ryan sat down, looking at him. "Complications due to the weight of the baby. She was a transexual who wanted to use the potion, for lack of a better word, on herself."
"We're watching that stuff, Horatio. I'm already going in every two weeks." That got a nod. "Can I share this with my doctor?"
"You may. No one else."
"Of course not. I'd be a freak show attraction within days." He stood up again. "Can I spike Natalia's tires?"
"Not yet. I'll talk with her," he offered. "Tell her you're having a medical problem and to lay off you." That got a smile and he went to lock himself in a lab to work on his new research topic. Horatio paged his cold case DNA tech. "Miss Boa Vista," he said when she came in. "Close the door." She closed the door. "It was heard earlier that you upset Mr. Wolfe?"
"I just mentioned he was getting a little pudgy around the middle," she complained. "I didn't mean to make him cry or anything."
"You didn't but you did step on his toes. He is a bit ill at the moment and this new weight gain is part of that," he said quietly. "It is nothing that's endangering his life but it is something that is a rather touchy subject at the moment. Am I clear?" She nodded quickly. "I would hope you would not mention it to him again or gossip about it?"
"I won't, Lieutenant. I'm sorry I upset him. I'll apologize."
"I'll pass on your apologies. For now, just leave him alone for a bit."
"I will. Tell him I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"Almost no one does at his insistence."
"That's fine with me. I understand." She left, going back to her lab to pout. She hadn't meant to upset him. She saw him heading down the hall and hurried out. "I'm sorry."
"It's all right. Just go away for now, okay?" He continued to walk. He got his water and went back to his lab. After he had closed and locked the door someone knocked. "Busy."
"I know that," Eric agreed. "Let me in, Wolfe." He let him in and locked the door behind him. "What did she say?" he teased.
"I was fat." He took a drink and put it out of the way, then regloved and went back to the notes that had already been made. "We got the research and some of the stuff."
"Good. Any ideas yet?"
"The trannie who created it died at seven months." He looked at him. "No one's theorized if it's everlasting or not."
"Ow," he moaned. He came over to help. "Horatio said so. He wants an update by end of the day."
"Sure. Welcome the help. He did say that it ate through my glove last time."
"I'll be very careful with that," he promised. "Because I'd find a way to have killed myself."
"The thought crossed my mind a few times," he admitted bitterly. "That's why Horatio still has all my good knives."
"Probably a good idea," he agreed. They got back to work on the notes. At least until Ryan groaned and grabbed his stomach, the other hand on the table. "You okay?"
"Strange feeling, little pain."
Eric pulled out his phone. "Alexx. We're in lab three. Ryan's grabbing his stomach and bending down." He hung up and helped Ryan onto a stool. "Should I call an ambulance?" Ryan shook his head and took a deep breath. "It okay?"
"No. I'm not sure what that was." Alexx knocked. "Let her in?"
Eric went to let her and Horatio in, then locked the door again. "He groaned, grabbed his stomach, then bent down while holding the table."
"Okay, shirt up, Ryan," Alexx said gently. He did that and she touched around his bump. "Have you been stressed?"
"Natalia called me fat. I told her to go away a while ago when she apologized."
"That's fine." She checked the water. Then she sipped. "That's got something in it, Horatio." He took it to run a sample. "Let's get him downstairs, Eric. I've got an ultrasound I can use." Eric nodded and they walked Ryan down there. A few people looked. "He's fine!" she snapped. "Some questionable water. Go back to work."
"I'm telling Horatio!" Eric called. Everyone disappeared. He got them into the morgue and Ryan onto a clean table, letting Alexx pull over the ultrasound. He watched the screen. The baby came up clearly and he smiled. "Can we tell anything?"
Alexx looked and nodded. "Looks like it moved." The baby did it again and Ryan tried to curl up. "Not much room in there, Ryan. The water sac is fully regular looking to me."
"So she's just moving?"
"She?" Eric asked.
"I can't call it it, Eric."
"Too early to really tell. Next month," she promised. The baby shifted again. "No, hold on. Do that again, grandbaby." Eric stroked along the ridge of the bump and the baby shifted again. "You're right," she said happily. "It's a girl." Ryan relaxed. "She's just unhappy and trying to get comfortable on the lumpy intestines." She turned it off to look at him. "Stay calm. That's the big thing. Also, sit down. Your ankles are swollen."
"I got a massive craving for tunafish last night." He let them help him up so he was sitting. Horatio walked in with Frank. "She was moving."
"She?" Frank asked.
"She flashed us. She's not happy with the lumpy bed," Alexx told him with a smile.
"Will aspirin and caffeine hurt her, Alexx?" Horatio asked.
"Probably not. Why?"
"It was in the water," Frank offered. "Plus another two bottles in the case."
"One of those designer sports drink waters?" Eric asked.
"No," Horatio said. "No indication on the bottle. We're doing further tests, but for right now, can you go back to lab?" Ryan nodded, standing slowly.
"I want him sitting, Horatio, and I want him to get some real water," she instructed. "Right now."
"I've got him some coming," Frank promised. "Yelina did me a favor and ran out." Ryan nodded and walked out slowly. "You okay?"
"Bit sore and the bathroom is calling. Thank you, Frank."
"Welcome, kid." They watched him walk off, Eric going to hover protectively. He looked at Horatio. "Well, the first tell happened. How long before the fallout?"
"I told Boa Vista he was ill but had it handled." Horatio looked at Alexx. "He'll be fine?"
"I'll be talking to his doctor but it's a bit cramped in there at the moment. That's all. It's lumpy under her and she's not comfy."
"Is there a way to fix that? Maybe put an expander like they do people going in for reconstructive surgery?"
"It's an idea. He's been good about not gaining weight," she told him. "I'll suggest it to her." Horatio nodded. "I'll let you both know."
"Good." He smiled. "Girl for sure?"
"Unless she changes suddenly. Looked like it was fully formed," she admitted with a smile.
"At least I know what to get him now," Frank offered, going to make notes about what he was thinking about as a baby shower gift.
Ryan walked into his OB's office. "I feel like I'm waddling," he complained.
"You are." He groaned but sat down. "It happens. It'll stop in a few months."
"Can we just make her quit moving?" he complained, shifting uncomfortably.
"Well, the idea to put a spacer in isn't a bad one," she offered. "It won't stop the problems the last one had however." Ryan stared at her. "I got her medical records released to me with a judge that owed me and did it quietly. She wasn't in the best of shape. You're in better shape."
"That's still a worry. The last official ultrasound we took showed that your intestines were being a bit crimped. It'll continue to happen."
"Can we shift her over?"
"Not too much. There's not much give with the way she's attached. Maybe a centimeter."
"Would that help?"
"It ease some of the pain but maybe not."
"Would doing that and the spacer work?"
"It could help but there's still a risk to her, Ryan."
"Of course. It'd have to be." She frowned at him. "We do have to start making decisions now about when it's not enough. Because the time will come when your intestinal walls can't take the strain."
"I've begun tracking how often I go to the bathroom," he offered.
"Good. That's a wise way of telling. That and stomach pains in other areas." He gave her a look. "I know, you're already having those. These would be sharp or dull, continuing pains. Infection pains."
"I had that with my eye. I remember those."
"Okay, if you have those I have to know immediately."
"Sure. I get that. Do we think I'll go nearly to term?" She shook her head. "How close to it?"
"If you're lucky, eight months," she offered. "You're in better shape, Ryan, but your body was not meant to do this."
"Is there a way we can shield under her? Take some of the pressure off?"
"Use a spacer for that?" she suggested. He nodded. "She's attached the placenta to the wall of your intestines. Shifting that part is impossible." He nodded slowly. "We might be able to prop up the other side. I can try. Can you get time off? You'll need a few good days to recuperate."
"Horatio wanted to talk to you about that anyway," he admitted.
"We can do that. I can get your whole support network together for a meeting if you agree." He nodded. "Good, then schedule a meeting and I'll make room."
He leaned over with a groan and a hand on the bump to dial her desk phone. "Horatio, it's time to call together a meeting about what's going on and what's next." He put him on speaker. "We're here together."
"That's fine, Ryan. Let me get into a more secure area. Excuse me, Yelina." He walked away and a door closed. "All right, I'm in an interrogation room. What's going on?"
"We're going to talk about the idea that came up of using a few saline spacers to give him more room, Lieutenant."
"All right. Is this a dangerous time for him?"
"It could give him more of a chance to carry to term. I *think* I may be able to prop some of the amniotic sac up where it's not attached to his intestinal wall. Doing that would mean he'd need a few days off and muchly reduced duties."
"Will he need lab only?"
"That's one thing we should discuss, Lieutenant. As well as what changes we're going to be expecting and how long we can give him."
"When's your next available time after five?"
"I can get everyone there. Say, six? Give you time to eat?"
"That would be fine," she agreed. She smiled at Ryan. "He's being very pushy but it's for a good reason and he's thinking far ahead at this stage."
"That's what I would expect from Ryan. Ryan, after that, go home and rest until the meeting."
"I was going to get a leisurely dinner."
"If you wanted. Be back here then." He hung up and went to see who had walked into the observation room. "Yelina."
"What's wrong with Ryan? I've noticed the weight gain he's been having and I heard he nearly collapsed today."
"I want you to keep an open mind," he said quietly, moving closer. Both rooms were empty so he sat her down and looked at her. "Do you remember the case with the serum that got confiscated by the FBI?" he asked. She nodded slowly. "That was a powerful combination of hormones and fertility drugs."
"So he's gotten some girl in trouble?" she asked, starting to smile.
"Not exactly." He led her out to get the tape from his office, then kicked DC out of AV again. "Just for a few minutes."
"When do I get to know?" he asked.
"Never." His tech walked out rolling his eyes. He closed the door and blinds, then handed her the tape. "Look it over."
"It's got Ryan's name on it." She put it into the VCR and turned to look at the monitor. She watched as it played. Then a sound hit her ears. She blinked. Horatio zoomed in on the image. "No." She looked at Horatio. "No. No, no. That's not right. It can't be right."
"It is right," he sighed. "It's a girl actually. His collapse earlier today was the first time she tried to move." He sat her down and looked at her. "He's all right."
"He can't be!"
He sighed. Then he turned off the tape and ejected it since he heard footsteps. "This is a very private matter, Yelina, and there are agents who will try to take him if they find out." She slumped and looked at him. "Eric and Calleigh have known all along. So has Frank."
"You didn't trust me?"
"I did, but you would throw a very loud fit and Ryan did not need that. He still doesn't. Right now he's in a very precarious position and he needs our support. We'll be having a support meeting tonight with him and his doctor. If you think you can be calm and reasonable by then we're doing it at six."
"He's...." He nodded. She slumped and shook her head. "That is wrong, Horatio. Against nature."
"Yet it happened thanks to modern science," he said blandly. "He decided to go through with this path."
She nodded slowly. "How?"
"We're still not sure. We can't find any DNA built into the serum so we're not sure. We'll see if Alexx can do another ultrasound tonight to show you."
"Please. I can't believe...." He nodded and smiled. "How is he handling it?"
"He's been grumpy recently. Natalia called him fat this morning."
"No wonder he's been grumpy. How long?"
"He's late fifth month," he said quietly.
"So he's in the nice spot before the problems begin." He nodded. "I'll help. It's the least I can do." She stood up. "We can do another one tonight?"
"I want to see her."
She smiled. "You're going to make a good godfather yet again," she assured him, kissing him on the cheek then wiping off her lipstick. "Now, we should go before they accuse us of making out in here." He laughed and let her go, opening the door for her. They found their friendly neighborhood IAB officer lurking. "Go away, Rick."
"What's wrong with Wolfe?"
"Medical condition. It's being handled," Horatio said blandly.
"He hasn't filed for any medical compensation."
"That's because he didn't want everyone to know, Rick. After all, there's some nosy people in this department," Horatio said smoothly, taking the video back to his office and locking it back into a box. He turned and found him watching him. "Go away."
"If he's a danger on the street...."
"I've had him working doubles for a reason, Rick. He told me the same week it was found out. He told one of the other officers that same day so he could think and get help. We have it well under control and he'll be restricted to lab work only soon." Rick frowned at that. "He'll be fine within a few months."
"Is that why you're doing a support group?"
"Unlike others, I don't abandon my people. Now, go away." Rick stomped off. Horatio moved the tape to a better hidden spot. He did not want that to get out.
Eric came in last and flopped down with a sigh. "Natalia wants to know what's wrong."
"I doubt she really wants to know," Ryan admitted, dipping his fried onion into the sauce. "Anyone else hungry? I'm starved and I'm going to keep eating but I don't want to be rude."
"That's fine, Ryan," Calleigh assured him. "You still scared me when you had bananas chips in your shrimp the other day."
"This is normal fried onion. Ranch dressing." She took some and ate a few bites. The rest took some too, even Yelina, who hugged him. "Thanks. Finally figured it out?"
"I heard Horatio talking with you earlier and got nosy." She sat down. "We need to start thinking about the nursery and things."
"First we need to get him that far," the doctor cautioned. "Due to him being *him* there's been some complications. One of them being the baby is attached to his intestinal wall." Yelina winced at that. "She's doing fine so far. We're a bit worried about the weight she's pressing down onto Ryan's intestines. That's what killed the maker of the serum that got him. So far he's doing very good. Earlier she got a bit upset at the lumpy bed and we've talked to a surgeon about the spacer idea. She agreed it could be done. I had to tell her why, Ryan, and she burst out laughing."
"So did Calleigh," he said before eating another bite. He pushed some of it toward Eric, who had another few to nibble on. "Can we?"
"We can. She thinks it might help. We would have to monitor you more carefully. I'd want to put a fetal monitor on you."
"I expected that to come within the next month anyway," Horatio offered. "Would it be affected by the machines in the lab?"
"Some of them. I've never had a patient that did lab work like you did but I do know that anything that gives out a strong EMF pulse can affect it and even wipe the memory."
"Okay," Calleigh agreed. "The mass spec doesn't and neither do most of the analysis machines but you can't use the atomic analyzer."
"Or the electronic nose," Ryan agreed. "I do want to keep working as long as possible." Horatio nodded at that. "I know this is going to be a pain in the butt."
"No, those are coming in another month," Yelina assured him with a pat on the hand. "Trust me."
"Oh, I've already got one of those," Ryan sighed.
"They can be removed, kid," Frank assured him.
"Speed teased him for weeks about the little donut he had to sit on after his," Eric agreed with a smirk for him.
"At least I can sit."
"Boys," Horatio ordered. "Is it safe for him to work around chemicals?"
"Some yes. I would prefer he used a respirator around anything that could fume."
Ryan looked at her. "I don't really work with those chemicals."
"We can make sure of it," Horatio agreed. "If anyone asks, your condition is creating some problems with drug interactions and some chemicals. We're using the established pregnancy guidelines because it's about the same."
"Do you have a copy of those?" the OB asked. Horatio pulled one out of his notebook and handed it over. She looked it over and nodded. "Those are reasonable precautions. How long have these been in effect?"
"Today," Eric admitted. "Before then we all hovered and nagged." He ate a few more onion petals and Ryan took them back to finish. "Sorry."
"S'okay. I'm starved today for some reason."
"You'll take those days," Alexx promised. "I always did."
"Me too," Yelina agreed. "I wanted to ask if you've thought about who's going to raise the child?"
He looked at her. "It seems kinda silly to go through all this pain and sneaking around if she's not coming home with me."
"Good. I'll be an aunt."
"Sure. The more the merrier to complain about her diapers and my cleaning habits." He looked at his doctor. "So, when?"
"Two days from now we can sneak you in to do that." Ryan nodded. Horatio made a note. "Then he'll have a few days off to recover. We'll be using the laproscopic cameras and tools so he'll only have a few small holes. Then we'll hook him to a fetal monitor at that point." Horatio made another note of that. "If we're lucky we'll get him into his eighth month. If we're not, she'll be viable in another six weeks at the earliest. Before then chances of survival are slimmer. After that point it's more assured and less problems come of it." Everyone nodded at that. "I do need to be told immediately if he should collapse. If he should start having infection-type pains in his intestines. If he has a lot of problems not normally associated with his condition. I'm sure the two experienced mothers can tell you what's normal."
"Of course," Alexx agreed. "The desire to hit people who call you fat is normal," she promised. "Slap the brat."
Ryan smiled. "I'll remember you said that."
"Not in public," Horatio warned. He looked at the doctor. "Any other precautions we should be aware of?"
"His ankles are already starting to swell," Alexx offered.
"More sitting is good," the OB agreed. "Gentle exercise, Ryan. Walking slowly, taking a casual walk."
"Yes, ma'am," he complained. "I've got to be in good shape."
"You are. It'll all go away later on. For right now, a bit of fat would help her."
"So I can have ice cream for dinner?"
She smiled. "I did not say that, but a bit less strict on your diet is fine, Ryan." He grinned at that. "No more tunafish at two in the morning either. You need sleep."
"Because you won't be getting any for the next year," Yelina promised him.
"Um-huh," Alexx agreed. "If then."
Ryan smiled. "Not like I sleep that much now, ladies." He looked at his doctor grinning madly. "The hormone swings are normal, right?"
"Yeah, he'd come in smiling and glowing like he had his own personal sun in his hair and then he say something homicidal in the same minute," Calleigh complained.
"Yes, that's normal," the doctor assured her. "Within the next month someone will ask you if he's bipolar. Say no, it's the medicines." She nodded at that. "When I had my daughter, I cried at FTD commercials for funerals. I suddenly went goth. The hormone swings are normal. He can be smiling and happy and homicidal at once and then burst out crying the next minute. They go away within six months after she's born."
"Okay, this is a really good lesson in why I use birth control," Calleigh assured her.
The doctor smiled. "Yes, it is. I hear that a lot." Horatio smothered a smile. "I do. That and babysitting. Both good reasons to use birth control. Then again, you could have baby envy."
"Not with how many times he runs to the bathroom," Calleigh assured her.
"I started to miss when my own were young," Alexx sighed, shaking her head. "Then I remembered diapers and the night I changed twenty-six of them in twelve hours."
Horatio looked at her. "I remember that story the next morning when I made you go home to sleep."
Eric looked at Ryan. "I don't want any. Never did, don't now. You're safe around me. I'll even let you cry on me. But the first time you try to feed me more strange cravings of butterscotch sauce on things that shouldn't even be sweet I'm running."
"Tunafish?" Yelina asked. Everyone stared at her.
"She had this thing with sardines and chocolate sauce," Horatio offered. "Ignore the flashback, people. Ray and I both hid when she went into the kitchen with that contemplative look on her face."
"It happens," the doctor agreed but she was smiling. "I had ranch dressing on everything. Even my eggs there for a bit. Quite a few women actually crave dirt or chew on their necklaces."
"I've been taking vitamins," Ryan reminded her.
"More than your fair share," she agreed. "You can cut back." He rolled his eyes. "Before it becomes a problem. Please?"
"Thank you." She smiled at them. "Any other questions?"
"Horatio said Alexx might do an ultrasound for the rest of us," Yelina offered. "Please?"
"I don't care but I'm not laying down. I end up with gas pains."
"That's why some intelligent man invented recliners, Wolfe," Frank said patiently. "Those pains and for when you've got broken ribs." Alexx went to get the machine and brought it back, slamming the door shut again. "Is that idiot out there?"
"No, the female nosy one." She set it up and moved over to Ryan's side, letting him take off his shirt. Calleigh cooed and touched the lump, which made the baby move and him hiss. She turned it on and spread the gel, letting the doctors see first, then the others. Yelina and Calleigh cooed. Eric laughed at them until Calleigh punched him on the side. Frank just shook his head. Horatio looked on in paternal fondness. "I did have a question," Alexx offered. The doctor smiled at her. "Amnio while you're in there and can we do a DNA comparison?"
"We can. I had plans on doing it anyway." That got a smile. "Still no idea what caused conception?" Everyone shook their heads. "I'm sure you'll figure it out."
"I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen after this one," Ryan complained. He started to fidget. "Okay, enough." They removed the wand and wiped his stomach off. "Sorry, feeling like a free show."
"At least we'll be buying you presents," Calleigh promised with a smile.
"Her," the doctor assured them all. "I'll let you know about the DNA results."
"We can run those," Horatio promised. "Quietly even."
"We can?" Eric demanded.
Ryan looked at him. "Valera likes me as a buddy. We can."
"Are you sure?" Frank pressed.
Ryan got up with a groan and put on his shirt as he walked. He found her getting ready to go and pulled her with him back to the conference room, slamming the door and locking it again. "I'm pregnant."
"I knew that," she said, shrugging. "Kinda obvious, you're having hormone swings and you glow, Ryan. I've been avoiding thinking about how you got pregnant."
"Who else knows?" Horatio asked.
"Me. Natalia suspected it's chemo or something that's making him radiate Cooper's not that bright and has never seen a pregnant woman. I've got sisters. They've all had multiple babies." Eric smiled at that. "No other person in the world is that fond of tunafish." She looked at him. "How?"
"Still no DNA in it," she complained. "Oooh! I'm going to be running the paternity... Sure. I can do that and keep it very quiet. Do we have options?"
"If it wasn't in the serum and he hasn't had sex, it's got to be someone he came into contact with," Horatio offered. "Start with us and work your way out." Eric gave him a horrified look. "You weren't here the day he got infected, Eric. Most likely it had to be done soon after the infection."
"I can do that if you bring me a fluid sample," she agreed. "I can even run the other tests."
"I can have it brought to you in about two days, dear," the doctor agreed. That got a smile and a nod. "We're going to go in and add some space for her."
"Her?" She smiled. "I'll have to get cute stuff then." She hugged Ryan. "If you need help eating ice cream let me know." She unlocked the door and bounced out.
"Well, that was easy," Eric offered. "What about our mole?"
"What Fed not involved in that issue would believe it?" Frank asked.
"Point," Eric agreed. "Any other issues? If not, I've got a date."
"Go," Horatio said tolerantly. He looked at Ryan. "Eat a better dinner than fried onion." He got up and walked the doctor out, talking quietly about ways to reduce Ryan's stress. Because keeping him at home would raise it when he went insane.
The others got together to plan the baby shower. It was time. She'd make it and so would Ryan.
Ryan got a whole month before his hormones went out of control on him. It was not going to be a good day. He walked in and shook his head at Frank, not taking off his sunglasses. "I need to go shopping."
"I was wondering why you're in sweats."
"Because the only pair of pants that might fit are in my locker." He trudged that way.
Valera smiled at him. "Have an issue?"
"I hate to but I've got to go shopping."
She kissed him on the cheek. "It's not that hard. I know where you can go," she promised.
He nodded and went into the locker room, frowning at his locker and the new dents on it. "Did I do that one?" Eric came in. "Who dented my locker?"
"Two guys getting into a brawl last night. They used it to beat one guy's head in. You okay?"
"Pants wouldn't fit," he said grimly, pulling out what he had been wearing yesterday and sliding into them. Then he took off his glasses and put them up.
"Put 'em back on, Wolfe. You look like you've been crying."
"Same reason," he sighed, putting them back on. He took them off again. "I can't wear them inside. I'll say it's lack of sleep because it is." He put his sweats back inside then went to clock in, passing Horatio and Valera talking. "Are you going with me, Valera?"
Horatio looked at him then at her. "Why?" he asked once Ryan was out of hearing range. He remembered how volatile Yelina had been and wanted to stay on the good side of any hormone swings.
"Oh." He nodded. "At least it's a good sign."
"It is." They both heard the slap and went to see what happened this time.
"I'm not fat," Ryan growled. "I don't care what you think, I'm still not fat."
"You've gained twenty pounds!" Natalia defended.
"He's only gained eleven and the doctor said he's behind," Horatio said firmly. "Ryan, lab. Now. I'll talk with you in a minute." He nodded, trudging that way, clearly trying not to waddle. He glared at Natalia. "Did I not say to leave him alone?"
"I just wanted to see if he was okay since he's still gaining weight." She got up off the floor.
Calleigh came jogging up. "Ryan's hitting a wall why?"
"She called him fat."
"You stupid..." She took a deep breath to bite off what she wanted to say. She walked off, going to calm Ryan down, Valera coming to help. "Thank you."
"It's not a problem. It's a bad day. His pants didn't fit this morning either."
"Hmm, definitely a sucky day," she agreed. They walked into the lab where Ryan was, giving him a hug. He struggled but they did it anyway. "I'm sorry she's being mean."
"I'm feeling miserable," he admitted. "I hate crying."
"It's the hormones, Ryan. It'll be okay," Valera promised. "They'll go away again sometime soon." She patted his back and he burped.
"Sorry, excuse me."
"It happens," Calleigh reminded him. "Let us handle it for you, Ryan. You stay in here today."
"Can't go anywhere anyway."
"Good point." She smiled at him and kissed him on the forehead. "We'll help you buy some new pants tonight." He nodded. "After all, even I've got fat clothes and there's a special formula for making them look slimmer than they are." She stroked down his hair. "Better now?" He nodded. "Good boy. Now, let's help Horatio yell at her for being mean."
"Have lunch with me, Ryan?" Valera asked. He nodded so they left him alone. "Can I slap her too?"
"No," Calleigh said patiently. "You can't. If I can't you can't."
"Yeah, it is," Eric said from behind them. "Wolfe all right?" They both smiled and nodded. "She call him fat again?" They both beamed and nodded. "I thought women were the smarter half," he complained.
"And just think, you slept with her," Calleigh teased. She patted him on the arm. "We're going to do lunch today. You want some?"
"Maybe." They gave him a look. "Fine. I'll withstand anything as long as there's not goldfish."
"The crackers?" Valera asked.
"No, my sister craved goldfish."
"Oh. Eww. No wonder you run." She gave him another pat. "I'd better get back to my lab." They watched as the elevator opened and agents stepped out wearing lab coats. "That doesn't look good."
"I'll get Horatio," Calleigh promised, going to find him.
"I'll warn Ryan," Eric agreed, going to find him. "Feds in the lab," he said grimly.
"Wonderful fucking day," he muttered, looking at him. "The same ones?"
"The one who came after my sister."
"Oh. Them. Even better. I'm not moving."
"Good. Just try to stay calm. We'll have lunch." Ryan nodded that he'd be fine. "Good." He went back to lurk and see what was going on with the others. Horatio was snapping at them. Not a good sign. Ryan came out to watch. "Go back to the lab, Wolfe," Eric said firmly.
"I'm not that pitiful and I'm working on a case," he reminded him. "Going to evidence, mom."
"Fine. Be careful."
"Of course." Ryan trudged that way. It was the only way he wasn't waddling. He found two feds going through a bin. "Excuse me, that's evidence."
"Get out of it," Ryan said.
"You get out of here," the other agent said.
"I'm supposed to be here. You're not. Get out of the drug bust evidence now."
"Found it," the searching agent said.
"I'll take that," the other agreed. "I would go back to your lab, CSI Wolfe."
"No, if you were me I'd be hitting you. Get out of the drug evidence." She walked off. The other agent wisely decided to follow. He called Horatio. "They were in the drug evidence from last week, H. That's where I am. I can." He looked in there, then called back. "The money." He left that case out. He wasn't putting something back that he hadn't taken down. He did take his case back to his lab to work on it. He also got a helper. "I'm busy."
"I'm here to monitor you."
"Good for you. Your perfume is alarmingly strong and I'm going to gag. You can stand on the other side of the table or else you can switch off."
"These are my orders..."
"Horatio, I'm going to puke on her!" he called. "Get this perfume stench out of my lab!"
"Change out," Horatio ordered from the doorway. "He is very sensitive to those things." She slunk off. "Are you all right?"
"Do not hit anyone else. Even if she did deserve it."
Ryan looked at him. "You told her last month to quit on my weight."
"I did. She didn't listen. She deserved it this morning. Do not do it again."
"Thank you, Ryan. How are you feeling?"
"Fat," he admitted. "Nauseous."
"Of course. That's normal. Just stay calm. Practice the breathing exercises Alexx gave you," he ordered quietly.
"I still have to plug in hourly."
"I know. Do it in my office or the bathroom."
"Agreed." Horatio left and Ryan got back to work. A new agent, a male one, came on. "At least you don't stink."
"Why are you restricted to lab duties?"
"Medical issues. Which are none of your business as it's not affecting anything but my weight and ability to run at the moment."
"Oh. All right. I'm sure we can get documentation."
"You don't need it," he said blandly, glaring at him. "My medical condition is in no way responsible for you idiots being in the lab." He got back to work, shaking his head. "You had better be wearing gloves, moron. You do not walk into this lab and not glove up." He put some on immediately. "Thank you," he snapped. He saw Valera being led off by two Feds and growled. Someone was not making him happy. She got released and others were gotten so she wasn't in trouble. They came for him. "I've got to stop and use the bathroom," he told the ones escorting him. "I've got to log my monitor in for another few hours." They gave him an odd look. "My medical condition?" He got free and went into the bathroom, and into a stall, dialing his cellphone and plugging in the end of the retractable cord. It downloaded and gave him an 'okay' message back. So he hung up, retracted the cord, and pulled down his shirt again. He exited and washed his hands, then allowed himself to be led off. "Sorry, you're going to make me miss my deadline to log in."
"Nothing of that concerns you."
"It is if it makes you mishandle evidence."
"I didn't and it wouldn't. It might make me puke on evidence but that hasn't happened in nearly four months." The Fed didn't look amused. "As I said, there's nothing in that which would concern you. Anything else you want to know?"
"I would cooperate with me."
"I wouldn't. You're an idiot. Again, anything else? I'm working on a case at the moment. You know, real work."
"Your smartass nature is about to get you into trouble, Mr. Wolfe."
Horatio walked in and whispered in Ryan's ear, getting a nod. "She just called."
"I'm trying to stay calm. It's not working. If the heart monitor I'm wearing is showing that much stress, they can come back to me."
"They can," he agreed, looking at him. "You're done. His heart monitor is off the charts."
"What heart monitor?"
"Again, none of your concern," Ryan stated. "It's a temporary problem that's being worked on." He stood up. "What did I supposedly do?"
"You were the last to handle the evidence money from the drug bust."
"No I wasn't. I was the last in the lab but it got checked out after that. Check your sheets." Eric leaned in. "I want one of us to look at it." He laughed. "You hire people who can't remember to put on gloves in a lab. You hired someone who came in drenched in enough perfume that it could transfer to evidence. You also hired people who shed." He picked a hair off the table and held it up. "Not mine." He put it onto the floor. "I want someone else to examine it."
"I will," Eric assured him. "You calm down. We don't need you to go off today. H?"
"Go look at the envelope, let me know, Eric." He walked off. "Mr. Wolfe, please go back to your lab. Your monitoring agent can do so from the doorway and I want you sitting down. We do not need you collapsing." Ryan nodded and headed back that way. "Leave Mr. Wolfe alone. He's restricted to the lab due to his medical issues of the moment. He does not need this stress. Now, we need this room. Get out." He walked off, going to check on Eric. "Anything?"
"Yeah, two pieces of tape," he said with a smirk. "And corn powder." He let Horatio look and they smirked at each other. "Who checked it out after Wolfe? We don't use corn powder," he told the watching, scowling Fed. "It transfers onto evidence."
"Treasury had it last if I remember right," Horatio offered. That got a nod and he went to find out which one had it. Even he was being followed. He saw two feds in Ryan's lab and changed directions but Calleigh went in there and shooed one out. Then she slammed the door and got Ryan calmed down. He smiled at that and went to make that call. He found the fed at his desk. So he pulled him up and gave him a shove. "Thank you."
"Thinking about a surrogate," he admitted. "Why?"
"I saw all the pregnancy related materials."
Horatio looked at him. "It has come in handy in the past and I have been looking at surrogacy and adoption at the moment." He dialed a number. "Agent Elliot please." He grimaced. "Thank you. This is he, have him come to me directly when he gets here if he calls you first." He hung up. "Your own people have the sign-out sheet. Agent Elliot had it after us."
"So?" he snorted. "He's not under investigation."
"Then we'll see when he gets here in a few minutes. Until then, leave Ryan Wolfe alone. He does not need this stress at this moment."
"If he's that fragile...."
"I'm not," Ryan complained from the doorway. "Horatio, I'm cramping."
"Go see Alexx."
"She's got idiots too. By the way, they're not wearing gloves either. You really should train them better." The head fed glared at him. Ryan glared back. "I will report your team. I am the vindictive one in this lab." He looked at Horatio again. "I need an hour. May I?"
"Take someone with you."
"Can I borrow Frank or should I ask Yelina?"
"Take Yelina. Just in case." Ryan nodded and went to find her and go outside with her watching over him. "He is not fragile," he said firmly. "He is not allowed to be stressed however. It is not good for his heart condition."
"Which is temporary?" he said dryly.
"It is. It's a fluid problem. Hence his weight gain. He'll be better within months. Until today he hadn't had many problems."
"Fine. Whatever." He went to check on his people, reminding those who didn't have their gloves on to put them on.
Ryan stood up at the end of the day, the Feds gone, finally, and nearly fell down. "Ow. Pins and needles." He huffed and stamped his feet, then patted his stomach until the baby moved off the nerves again. It got a bit better and he sighed in relief. Eric came in. "Hi."
"You okay? I saw the dancing."
"Pins and needles."
"I've had those. You ready to head home?"
"I really want a beer."
"You and me both. But hey, they didn't know."
"Good. Not that they'd believe it," he said dryly. He saw Natalia lurking. "She's listening."
"Pity. Want a ride?"
"I've got to go shopping. I'm out of pants."
"That can happen," he agreed. "Just go up a few sizes."
"They don't fit right."
"Not your fault. I'm thinking about stretchier fabrics at the moment."
"Stretch jeans," Calleigh said as she joined them. "Come on, I'll drive. Valera will meet us." She smiled at Eric. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I'm a bit pissed."
"I still want to hit the guy earlier for making fat jokes," Ryan admitted.
"Do it next time." She took his arm. "Come on, need your wallet and things?" He nodded so they went to his locker to pick those up and then headed out, ignoring Natalia the whole way. "What I'm going to suggest is going to seem radical, but you've seen my blue stretch jeans, right?" He nodded slowly. "What about those? They stretch, they'll help hide the bump, and if you don't tuck your shirt in no one will know they've got an elastic waistband."
"Which would help a lot," he agreed. "But they look kinda feminine, Calleigh."
"I can find you a plain pair," she promised. "Would you wear them?" He nodded slowly. "Then we'll go for that right now. It'll help." She got in another pat then they drove off.
"Valera keeps patting her too."
"It's showing her love and it's magnetic, Ryan. Pregnant tummies are like magnets for hands."
"At least the Fed didn't."
"He started to but you turned around and he looked *so* confused." Ryan huffed. "I know. It's annoying. It'll be okay. Did we do the DNA testing?"
"Valera won't tell me. She's rerunning it. She said she went through CODIS first and then is backing down to the lab."
"I'm kinda hoping it's Horatio's. He's been a good helper, right?" He nodded slowly. "Plus he's got a lot of love and he'd help babysit. If it was Eric's, he'd start giving you those looks."
Ryan slunk down some and nodded. "He already is."
"See? So hope for Horatio."
"I'm hoping she's just mine."
"She can't be a clone unless you wanted to share something about some surgery?"
"No," he said, smiling a bit. "No surgery like that in my past, Calleigh. I miss my abs."
"You'll have them back in a few months," she promised. "We'll even help you get into shape again if you want." He nodded at that, then yawned. "Tired?"
"All the time." His watch beeped so he downloaded his monitor into his phone again. "They tried to catch me doing this at lunch."
"Stetler's been nosy too," she admitted.
"I said it was a heart monitor."
"Well, it is," she agreed. "Just not for your heart." She pulled into the shop she and Valera had decided on and Ryan looked at her. "It'll work. Trust me. We'll say it's for her. She's already agreed."
"Sure. Um, I'm about a thirty-two waist at the moment."
"Sure." She got them inside, whispering that to Valera, who took Ryan's arm to give it a hug and walk him around. She looked at one t-shirt then held it up. "You should, just to see Eric's face."
He snickered. "Then he'd think he was having visions."
"Maybe." She put it into the basket but he just smiled at it. It didn't take that long to load up on pants and shorts for him, and it was nice, they fit when he tried them later on. It didn't push on his stomach. It didn't roll wrong under the bump. It was nice. He smiled at both ladies, who grinned back. Then he put on the Hello Kitty t-shirt and Calleigh took a picture, sending it to Eric.
Eric got his phone out of his pocket and looked at the message, downloading the picture. He moaned and slid it down to Horatio, then went to kick the wall in the bathroom.
"The ladies are picking on him," he said fondly. He showed Frank, who snickered. "That first day he had a vision of Ryan wearing that shirt waddling onto a scene." He saved the picture down to the phone and hung up. Eric came back so he handed back his phone. "Valera said she'll have the test results tomorrow. She's run them twice now."
"Are we thinking she knows it's one of us?" Frank asked. "I worked with the kid the next day."
"We can't figure out how it happened on the mouse test," Eric admitted. "One of the male mice is pregnant but he's only been with the female mice." Horatio looked at him. "We can do mouse genetics to see if we can tell how. They didn't have sex. They've barely had contact. The female mice are trying to avoid him. The other one had sex with the female mice. They're pregnant by him."
"He didn't have the male mouse?" Eric shook his head. "Is he avoiding him as well?" Eric nodded. "That could be a species difference."
"No, not in the control group."
"Fine. We'll have to wait until tomorrow. Though, whoever it belongs to, I will be an uncle," Horatio ordered.
"I don't want kids, H. It's all yours." He walked off shaking his head. "Heading home, boss. I need a beer."
"Have a better night, Eric." Eric grinned back at him. Horatio shook his head. "One of these days his libido is going to get him in trouble."
"Ya think?" Frank taunted. "Like his stalker?"
"That's a whole different matter, Frank. It could be a female he came in contact with," he noted. "It could be Calleigh's. She's very protective of him. Even more so than Alexx is."
"Could be," Frank agreed. "That might be cute." He shrugged. "We'll find out tomorrow."
Valera snuck into the office the next morning, then into Horatio's office, handing him the test results once she had closed and locked the door. "I told Ryan last night. He stared at dinner instead of ate it."
Horatio looked then stared. "How?"
"I don't know." He looked at her. "I have no idea. They don't know how it happened, Horatio." She shrugged. "Ryan said he didn't want anyone to know."
"We'll see how he feels about it today. Thank you, Valera."
"I thought about sending everyone a text message with the 'you're not the father' message." He smiled at that. "Then one with the 'you're the daddy' code. So, happy daddyhood." She split, heading down to hide in her lab.
Horatio went to find Ryan pacing in the locker room. "This changes nothing. It had to be accidental exposure, Ryan," he soothed. Ryan nodded, resting his forehead against Horatio's arm. "It'll be okay."
"No it won't. I can't see my feet." He looked up at him. "I don't expect...."
"Stop. I am going to help. I am going to be involved. I will make a nuisance of myself. I will not make you marry me. Am I clear?" Ryan nodded, grinning just a bit. "Good. Now, I believe I hear your lab stool calling you?" Ryan nodded, grabbing his jacket and a piece of hard candy out of his locker. "Go to work, Ryan."
"I'm expecting Eric to do the 'it's not mine dance' today."
"As do I," he agreed. "Hopefully he'll be discreet enough to do it with Alexx." That got a smile and Ryan went to work. Horatio went back to his office. He found Rick looking at the information he had gathered on pregnancy. "I'm thinking about adopting. Did you want to be the mother?" he joked. Stetler shuddered. "Why are you in my office this time?"
"The Feds yesterday."
"There was a malicious incident with a prosecutor, Rick. Didn't you hear who they arrested?"
"I did. I was wondering at Wolfe's sudden mood swings and anger issues."
"His medicines are doing funny things to his hormones."
"Cut the crap," he sneered. "He's seeing an obstetrician, Horatio." Horatio slammed the door. "How?"
"None of you business and if you try to harm that boy I will see you ruined, Rick. Am I clear? They will never find your body." Rick backed up, looking a bit scared. "Am I clear?" he asked again. Rick nodded. "Good. Ryan Wolfe has been suffering under this. I would expect you to have some empathy."
"Are you adopting his or was it a one-night fling?" he demanded.
"No, it was that case that the FBI took." Rick moaned. "He is in a very delicate condition. If this gets out I will know who said something."
"No one would believe me!" he complained. "Not even the Feds who came to me for information on his health when they found out he was seeing an OB." Horatio growled at that. "They're tracking him."
"They can't have him either and if you see them I would appreciate a warning. It was their experiment that went wrong."
"Is it yours?"
"He won't say who the father is. We do know it is someone in the lab. All it took was an accidental exposure to their skin or sweat."
"The mice in his lab?" Horatio nodded. "I see. That biological substance you're identifying?"
"The same serum. We're trying to see if it has a finite limit."
"Can't he have things taken out?" he demanded.
"Not like a uterus grew, Rick," he said blandly. "It's attached to his intestines."
"Then I feel really sorry for the kid. Has everyone figured it out?" Horatio shook his head. Rick Stetler snorted. "So much for a crack team, Caine."
"The field techs were told so they could cover for him and protect him. The lab techs don't all know."
Stetler rolled his eyes. "Fine. Cover his tracks better, Horatio."
"If they come after him I'll extend the same invitation to never have their remains found as I have you."
"Fine. I don't want to think about it. I don't want to know. Just deal with it quietly. Some of the patrol officers reported him for not being fit for duty. One said he was drunk on duty."
"No, he was ill that day."
"Whatever. I don't care. Just keep it more quiet. Let him go on leave or something."
"He'll be going soon." Rick walked out shaking his head. Ryan leaned in. "I heard you stomping up the stairs."
"Me and Cooper. I told him to go back to the lab and wait on you. Bad news, the mouse that was pregnant died. Went into labor without anyone around." Horatio winced. "Exactly. The female mice delivered perfectly well and one's rubbing herself against the male already. She's ignoring the young."
"I think it almost had to be a sweat exposure, Ryan."
"I was thinking skin. I'm waiting to see if they get pregnant again right away in the same super fertile way."
"The other male test subject?"
"Super horny, nothing else. What worries me is that the female mouse is ignoring her young."
"That's not unheard of," he offered.
"Yeah, but she's literally not seeing them, Horatio. This isn't they're sick so she's pushing them out of the way. It's like she no recollection of having given birth."
"Then at least we'll know to introduce you to her again," Horatio offered with a small smile. "I had to tell him."
"I heard they found my doc. I've already called to warn her while I was eavesdropping."
"Good. Then go back to work, slowly. No more jogging on the stairs. I'd hate to try to explain this to paramedics." Ryan shuddered but went back to his lab. Horatio went down to AV. "Cooper, you needed to see me?"
"What's wrong with Ryan?" he asked. Horatio just stared at him. "He's gaining weight. He's cranky, moody, and he's acting like a girl with PMS, Horatio. No medicine for men does this unless he's taking female hormones?" Horatio shook his head. "Are we sure?"
He looked around then at him. "I know I've got a big mouth, I'm sorry as hell I spilled one thing, Horatio. But this is creepy. He nearly cried when he found out his male mouse had died."
"Did Alexx take it?" He nodded, looking confused. "He's testing a treatment they're doing on him with them," he said quietly. "That is all you need to know."
"Bull! Boss, he's creepy! I found myself wanting to touch him."
"Then perhaps you should reevaluate your sexuality, Cooper."
"Not that way, thank you. I wanted to pat him and give him a hug! I don't hug men! I don't want to hug men!"
"I can hear you," Eric called from the hallway. "Your case of gay panic is annoying, Cooper." He kept walking.
Horatio looked at him. "It is a treatment he is on, Cooper. That is all it is. Within a few months he'll be better and it'll all be over with shortly thereafter. Once his body adjusts."
"Are we going to have a female Ryan? I mean, if he's a trannie, I don't care. I really don't. I'm not going to bash him or anything but *please* give us a clue?"
Ryan walked in and looked at Horatio. "If he tries to hug me, I get to hit him, right?" Horatio frowned at him. "Oh, come on," he begged.
"Holy shit," Cooper said in awe, staring at Ryan's stomach. "You're pregnant? How!" he demanded loudly.
Ryan glared at him. "Touch me and I will pop you one even if he won't let me." Cooper backed away and his hands went into his pockets. "Remember the goop case?"
"Unfortunately. Why?" Ryan pointed at his stomach. "Oh, shit, man. Are you okay?"
"Seven and a half months tomorrow," he sighed. "I'm fat. I'm growing breasts I think. I'm almost certain my penis is shrinking. Did you really want to hear about this issue?"
"Eww. No thanks," he said weakly. "Am I the last to know?"
"Not quite," Ryan admitted. "We're keeping it to the lab only. If this gets out I will gut you and drink your blood. She'll like that. She likes rare steak and pork."
"Sure," he agreed, backing away slowly in his rolling chair. "I agree. My mouth is sealed on this, Ryan. I swear! Who's the father?"
"Accidental exposure to either sweat or skin when the serum primed me. It's someone in the lab." Cooper went whiter than the ceiling tiles. "Not you." He expelled a breath and slumped, nodding. "Anything else?"
"Does Calleigh know?"
"Yes. She's a godmother."
"Oh. Sure. Want diapers, jammies? Cute stuff? A girl?" Ryan nodded. "Sure, I'm good at presents. Just don't ask me to babysit."
"Never hit my mind, Cooper."
"Thanks. Now, can I shudder in peace?"
"You wanted to know," Horatio reminded him.
"I was stupid," he assured him. "Please?" They left and Cooper let out a long, full-body shudder of horror. "That poor man, they'll take away his manliness license for this. He'll be horribly deflated in male ego for the rest of his life," he complained quietly.
"I can still hear you and he's a stronger man than you are, Cooper." Eric stepped in. "I'd like to see you go through the cramps he's had." Cooper shuddered again, curling up in a ball in his seat. "This gets known about because of your big mouth, I'll find a way to use the serum on you. Am I clear?" He nodded quickly. "Good. Sit there, think about it, do not open your mouth about it at all."
"Yes, Eric. Is it yours?" He shook his head. "Horatio's?"
"No one's sure. I know it's not mine. That's all I know."
"Okay," he agreed weakly. "I'm sorry."
"Not even in your diary, Cooper."
"I don't keep a diary anymore." He covered his mouth. "Oops." Eric gave him an amused look that scared him so he decided to quit thinking for a while, just in case the rumors that Horatio was telepathic were true. "Good." He went back to his gathering evidence. Eric leaned into Ryan's lab. "You okay?"
"Kinda felt good," he admitted. Eric beamed. "Would you really use it on him?"
"They'd be strange and ugly babies," Eric said more quietly, making Ryan laugh and have to run to the bathroom to pee, again. He went back to his rounds.
Ryan groaned and grabbed his stomach, gripping the lab table in front of him. "Cooper!" he yelled. Everyone else was at a scene. He came jogging in. "Close that. I think it's time."
"Time?" he squeaked. Ryan slugged him on the arm. "Oh, shit!"
"Close the damn evidence for me!" he snapped. "Call Horatio or someone!"
Cooper called Horatio. "He said it's time, she wants out! What do I do!"
"Close the damn evidence," Ryan growled. He grabbed the phone and gave Cooper a shove at the table. He did that then ran off. "I'm either in labor or she's really unhappy with life. Not like I want to contemplate driving myself, Horatio. Well, then get someone!" he snapped. "I don't give a damn who!" He dropped the phone with a moan and curled up on his knees on the floor.
Horatio looked at his scene. They were barely started. He called Eric. "It's time. How far are you on your scene?" He frowned. "Crap. Is Frank with you?" He nodded. "Thank you." He called Frank. "Where are you?" He listened. "Go get Ryan out of his lab and take him to his doctor's now, Frank. She wants out. Yes, that she. Now. Memorial, sixth floor. Thank you." He hung up and looked at Alexx, who was staring. "He'll be fine." He called her office. "It's Horatio Caine for Ryan Wolfe. He's coming in. She wants out. He's coming in with a detective. Thank you. Absolute secrecy," he warned. He hung up and looked around again. "I'll head there."
"Go now," Alexx ordered. "Right now, Horatio. I can get Calleigh here since it's her day off." He nodded and jogged to his hummer. She called Calleigh. "It's time. I need you to come replace Horatio at my scene, dear. Frank is." She smiled. "I'm sure he'll be fine. Just get here." She hung up and got back to work.
Frank walked into the lab and found Valera trying to help. "Move." He pulled Ryan up. "Where?"
"Memorial, sixth floor, 6223." Frank nodded, walking him off. "Make sure he sealed that right, Valera!" He groaned and held his stomach. "She is not happy."
"This had better not be a drill."
"No. I've been cramping lightly for days. This is the real thing." He panted through the pain, letting Frank get him into the front seat of the car. "Frank, lights," he ordered. "Now." He curled up on his side.
Frank switched on the lights and sped out of the parking lot, heading to the hospital. "Never thought I'd be doing this part," he joked.
"Be thankful you're not the daddy, Frank."
"I am. I'd hate to have to explain that to my wife. Though she'd baby you and her." He sped up, moving around a truck in the wrong lane, then back into the right one. "Where was everyone else?"
"Scenes across the city."
"Wonderful." He kept his eyes on the road, keeping track of how much Ryan was moaning. He pulled onto the sidewalk at the doctor's office, walking around to get Ryan out, leaving on his lights. "That way I won't get a ticket," he joked. He walked him past the guard. "Daddy to be. Sympathetic pains." That got a nod and they got the elevator. He rode up with him, letting Ryan point at the right office. "Hey," he told the receptionist. "It's time."
"I heard. We're trying to clear a room right now. The doctor's on her way back from an emergency c-section." Ryan glared at her. "It'll be okay."
"Not like she can come out the normal way," he quipped quietly. He was leaving dents in the wall where he was gripping next to the window. "Please?"
"Let me get the senior midwife." She went to get her.
They both came back out. "Ryan." He glared at her. "Now? Right now?" He nodded. "Okay." She led them back to a room. She tapped and leaned in. "Stephanie, I've got an emergency coming in, dear. Can I kick you back to the waiting room for a few? His twin is having her child and they're linked. We need him on the monitor." She nodded and came out, smiling at Ryan and giving him a hug before going back to the waiting room. "Okay, in here." Ryan walked in and took off his shirt and pushed down the waistband of his pants, letting her hook his fetal monitor into the system. "Yeah, she's in distress. Her heartbeat is starting to fall. Let me update the doctor and sterilize something. Okay?"
"I don't care. She wants out," Ryan assured her. He curled up and grabbed Frank's arm to squeeze. "Not happy!"
"Let me do that." She went to call the doctor while she sterilized something. "It's me. Ryan's here. She's ready. Right now. Her heartrate is falling. Thank you." She hung up and called his other doctor, who came jogging up the hall to help her. She couldn't perform surgery. "In room three, doctor." He nodded, heading that way. She brought in the surgical tray. "Here we go." She moved to turn on the oxygen and put the heart leads on his chest. "It'll be okay, Ryan. Even if it will hurt like a bitch it'll be okay."
"Just make her stop," he begged. "Please?"
"I'm going to cut, Ryan. We need him still, people." Frank leaned on Ryan's shoulders while the nurse got his feet. He made a midline incision down the center of his stomach. The OB came in and he turned it over to her once she had gloves on. She got the baby out and turned it back over to him to remove the spacers and the remains of the placenta. Frank got to hold the baby.
"There's only one person with hair that color, young lady. He'll make a very fussy daddy." She sniffled. "She's a bit blue," he said. The nurse came around to put the oxygen mask on her instead of Ryan. "Shh, I've got you." He wrapped the towel around her because she had to be cold. He was. Horatio burst in. "Close it!"
Horatio closed the door and came over, leading Frank as far away from where they were working on Ryan as he could. He took his daughter. "Shh, it's all right," he soothed, holding her close to keep her warm. "Should she be in an incubator?"
"Soon," the nurse agreed.
"Okay, we've got to down to where it can be excused as lesions, Ryan, and we're going to have to admit you. Let me .... No stitching packs?" The nurse eeped and went to fix that. "It's better this way," he ordered. "Get the ER staff up here. He brought in the baby to be looked at. He found her somewhere and he got stabbed in the process." That got a nod and the nurse called down to the ER. He came over to look at her. "She's not fat in the least, Ryan. She's tall and gangly really. She'll have to gain some weight."
"Alexx will love that," Frank assured him. "She's gonna be a grandmother who makes cookies."
That got a smile from the OB. "You have no idea. They're both going to be fat."
"Need to start situps this week," Ryan complained weakly. "Can I die now?"
"No, Ryan, but they'll give you something for the pain in the ER." He nodded slowly at that. "Want to see her?"
"When I can focus my eyes. Right now everything's a bit blurry." An orderly and someone in scrubs ran in. "Hey," he said weakly, flopping an arm.
The surgeon looked at the hole then at the OB. "Why...." She glared. "Never mind. He was stabbed?"
"The lesions are where we took some material out," she agreed simply. "He found her by the road."
"Sure," he agreed. "Whatever. I don't want to know. Ma'am..."
"Sir," Ryan said weakly. "Officer Wolfe. CSI."
"Oh, crap, no wonder," he said. "Do I want to ask how?"
"Some goop someone made in a lab, kid," Frank told him. "Just fix Ryan."
"Sure." He got to work cleaning up the intestinal lesions a bit more. "That should absorb. We'll be checking to make sure." He took the stitching packs from the nurse and got to work closing him back up again. "The placenta and all that?"
"Set aside for testing."
"Good. The baby?"
"Healthy. She's sucking on Horatio's finger," Frank offered.
Ryan glared at him. "No dead things from a scene in her mouth."
"I don't think it'll be a problem, Ryan. I was taking pictures, I hadn't touched the body yet." That got a nod and Ryan thumped his head on the bed.
"Can I please have pain killers? I've been a good boy. I carried to almost nine months."
The surgeon pulled something out of his pocket and stuck him with the local. "All I can do until we can check you in."
"Bless you." He let himself drift as the pain eased some. The orderlies got him moved down to the ER, Horatio and Frank following his daughter. He gave her a bleary look once they were in the elevator. "Cute hair, kid. You'll be fine. I didn't go through this to see you go away. Just don't suck on dead things yet, okay?" He let himself slump again. "And don't listen to Eric about clubbing. Ever."
Frank snickered. "She's got a while before that, Wolfe."
"You saw my insides, you can call me by my first name, Frank."
"Sorry, Ryan." He patted him on the head. "You did good. Even if you did scare the crap outta Cooper." Ryan hummed at that. "Looks like he's picking up habits already." Horatio hit him on the arm, shaking his head. They came out in the ER.
"I want a trauma room cleared, people, and I need NICU down here now!" the surgeon yelled. They moved Ryan into the cleared trauma room and got him hooked up to what he needed to be. A pediatrician came running to take her from Horatio's arms. "This officer found her in her placental mass somewhere. Someone stabbed him. He went up to the OB on sixth. He's had a local, they've been giving her oxygen and it was frigid up there again. Someone needs to fix the AC in this heap," he complained. They got her into an incubator and on oxygen, plus an IV into her umbilical cord.
"Sir, you'll have to wait outside," a nurse told Horatio.
"I'm the father. I'm staying," he said, glaring at her. She nodded at that. "Frank got him here."
"We saw the car with the lights, sir. You should go move that, Detective. I'll let you back when you come back."
"Sure. Be right back, Horatio." He left with her, going to move his car off the sidewalk. Plus turn off his lights. He called Alexx on the way. "She's fine. She's in an incubator. Tall and gangly really. Not real pudgy but she's really long. Ryan's being given drugs finally. Horatio's hovering over the incubator. That's what we told them. Thanks, Alexx. Yeah, that's where we are. If they show up, I get to shoot the feds, right?" Her 'if Horatio doesn't you can' soothed him. "Thanks. Insides are still gross." He hung up and pulled out the keys so he could back the car off the lawn.
Eric leaned into the room. "Up for people?"
"You're not a person if you brought me food."
"I did," he admitted, bringing him in some soup. That got a smile. "Didn't figure you were ready for other stuff. Everyone else is at the nursery."
"She's fine. A bit underweight. Kinda tall. She stretched instead of growing pudgy I guess." He ate another bite then waved the spoon at Calleigh when she came in. "Hi."
"Hi. She's adorable," she cooed, kissing him on the cheek. "I am a godmother?" He nodded, eating another bite. "Good." She smiled at Eric. "Want the other side?"
"Then he'd teach her how to club and be promiscuous," Ryan complained.
"My sisters aren't even allowed to date without me threatening them," Eric assured him.
"Then you can be. You and Frank if you both want. I know Valera wanted Godmother status too." That got a grin and a shrug. "Cool. What did he name her? I let him since I was drugged."
"Tamara." Eric stiffened. Calleigh smiled. "Not like we could name her Timothy."
"True. He'd laugh. He'd so laugh."
"Ya think?" she teased back. She looked at Ryan. "He said if that was okay with you."
"I don't mind. It's a beautiful name and it's good to honor those you miss by naming your kid after them." Because he knew he'd be overruled if he had protested. Besides, it was okay with him really. "Tamara what?" He picked up the bowl and drank the rest of the soup. "Sorry, starved. Didn't get breakfast."
Eric shrugged. "I know she was screwing with your eating. My mother made you that."
"Thank her for me."
"Sure. Tamara what?"
"Tamara Abigail I think." Calleigh texted Horatio and got that back. "Yup, Tarama Abigail. And he'll be right down with her. She's healthy so they're moving her back to the regular nursery. She only has to make up part of a pound." Horatio walked in with her a few minutes later. "There's my goddaughter," she cooed, taking her to hold.
Eric looked and waved. "Hi, goddaughter."
Horatio shrugged. "That's fine with me. Are we disappointing Frank and Valera?" Ryan shook his head. "Then I'm satisfied. She's fully healthy. She quit gasping when they sucked more snot out of her nose a while ago." She let Ryan have her and he smiled at her, playing with her hand. The door banged open and Horatio reached for his gun.
"Are we visiting?" the fed asked.
"Horatio, can I have your gun?" Ryan asked.
"You can have mine," Eric offered, handing it over. The Fed ran. "Good idea." He took the gun back and then his goddaughter. "Hi." He grinned at her. "Aren't you tiny." She burped and he laughed. "Yeah, you'll get that with some of the things he ate for your pleasure, but none of it was living." He handed her back. "Did you ever get around to moving?"
"No," Ryan admitted. "She can sleep in my room for a while."
"That's fine, Ryan, we can help you move," she promised, smiling at him. A calmer agent walked in. "I will kill you all," she vowed with a sweet smile.
"Is the child all right?"
"Do you want me to shoot you?" Ryan asked.
"No. We just want to know the outcome."
"The outcome depends on if I can and ever do get pregnant again, Agent Johnson. Because if I do, I'm hunting you down and killing you, then skinning you for full body condoms." Then he smiled sweetly.
"I can see how that would be a concern. Our lab said it shouldn't happen."
"Has to the mice," Eric offered.
"It had a six month limit in humans. One of his other assistants was exposed. He miscarried twice but then tested negative for it after the second one. You can test for the unique hormone mixture. Should be dormant by now and then gone within six months."
"I can take six months off work," Ryan agreed happily. The others nodded that it was a good idea. "Anything else?"
"I'm not going to steal her."
"I bet," he said dryly. "Horatio would shoot you if you tried."
"And then some," he agreed. He moved closer. "She's cute."
"Thank you," Horatio agreed. "By the way it transfers through skin contact."
"Good to know. The rest will be destroyed?"
"Fire makes it work better," Eric said grimly. "Plus it lets off a fume that is even more potent. I tested it with a fume hood." Ryan shuddered. "We'll keep it in biohazard storage for now. Thanks."
"Fine. Let me know if anyone else gets caught. I wish you the joys of parenthood, Mr. Wolfe. Have fun with that." He walked out to mass growling.
"Hmm, you two already sound married," Calleigh teased.
"I promised I wouldn't make him," Horatio said blandly. He took his daughter back. "Come on, Tamara. Let's go have a bottle. You'll like those." Ryan smiled. "I'll make sure she comes home on time, Ryan."
"Thanks, Horatio. I could use the recuperation time."
"I know. Just get better." He walked off with her, letting the others who showed up make funny faces and coo at her.
Yelina looked at her then at him. "No mistaking it this time, correct?"
"Poor man. Will it keep going?"
"For up to six months."
"He could use the time off anyway," she said dryly. "Where is he?"
"Three north. Eric's with him. So is Calleigh." He put her back into her basinet and the nurse came over to chastize him for removing her. "I went to show her to the officer who saved her. She can go home when?"
The others watching just let him go. That was one protective father.
The four-year-old redheaded girl ran up the hallways. "Daddy!" she yelled. He came out of the office, catching her, smiling at her. "I'm back."
"I can see that. What are you doing here at work?"
"Mommy said so since we had a gas leak at the house." She smiled and kissed him on the nose. Then she giggled and he put her down, letting her into the office. She looked at the man in there. "Are you the bad guy who makes daddy's head hurt and mommy has to soothe it or are you a different asshole who gives daddy headaches?"
Horatio coughed. "That is an inappropriate word, Tamara. Apologize."
"I'm sorry you're stupid."
"No more hanging out with Eric, Tamara," he said dryly. "Apologize properly."
"I'm sorry. Please quit giving him headaches?" She smiled but her very blue eyes were boring into him like her father's did. He slunk out. "Idiot," she said once he was gone. She looked at him. "He is!"
"He is not."
"He is! He called mommy fat."
Horatio moaned and shook his head. "He's not fat. He's also not pregnant."
"I know. We made sure today." She smiled sweetly. "Then we came home to find the guy undoing the pipes on the stove so it would go boom. The fireman was really nice, Daddy."
"Good. Sit," he ordered, pointing at the couch. She climbed up and found a book. Horatio came in shaking his head. "Bad guy who took apart the stove?"
"Someone who wanted to blow us up. How are you?"
"I have a headache. Stetler was here."
"Pity." He gave him a kiss on it. "I am not pregnant."
"Good! Now, go ask Eric the same question since the explosion in the biohazard containers got him too." Horatio snorted but went to ask Eric that, finding him getting sick in the bathroom. Ryan watched him go. "My ass you're not pregnant," he muttered. She giggled. "Do not repeat that."
"Okay." She went back to the book she had found. Eric came in and sat with her, giving her a cuddle. "Hi, Uncle Eric."
"Hi, Tam. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Are you okay? You look like Auntie when she was pregnant."
"There's a reason for that." She squealed and gave him another hug. "Horatio is?"
"He says no. Valera?" he called. "Please corner Horatio and draw blood?" Horatio yelped but apparently cooperated since he wasn't complaining. He came back scowling. "Like I trust a home test, Horatio."
Valera came in a few minutes later. "You better hope the transfer doesn't take place immediately, guys. If so, Eric's having Cooper or Frank's babies and Horatio's giving the beautiful one there a baby sister or brother." Both men groaned and she smiled. "Can I be a godmother?"
"Only if you go explain this to my mother," Eric complained.
"She knows how Tamara came to be, Eric."
"She asked." He shrugged. "I couldn't make up a good enough lie."
"She does have very strong mother radar," he admitted. "So you told her when?"
"When Tammy was six months old."
"She's known all along?" he asked. Ryan smiled and nodded. "I'm so in for it when I go home."
"I can call her if you want. She might be expecting it. After all, you've had morning sickness long enough that even Stetler noticed." Eric grimaced at that. "So she probably knows. After all, you have five nieces and nephews."
"Point." He pulled out his phone and called his mother. "Can we have dinner? No, not with the sisters, Momma. Please? I don't want to talk to them tonight. Pretty please?" He groaned. "You told them?" he demanded. He whimpered. "At least I won't be eating live things." He got a pat from the little girl in his lap. "Thanks, Tamara. Ryan, can my mother babysit tonight?"
"Up to Horatio." He looked at him, seeing the look in his eyes. "I think I'm being spanked tonight so go ahead. Carseat's probably in the hummer."
"Sure, Momma, I can come home soon. Something soft and soothing, please. Something with pistachios?" he suggested with a small smile. "Thanks, Momma." He hung up on her yelling for his father. "Come on, Tam, let's go visit the other grandmother before we take you to see my mother." He walked her out and down to the morgue to give Alexx a kiss and hug too.
Horatio closed the door. "I should spank you."
"I'm just happy I realized what it was and it didn't work on me! Shit, we've got Calleigh pregnant again, you and Eric, and Valera." Horatio shuddered. "At least it's not Cooper too or Frank."
"Thankfully," he agreed. "Dinner?"
"I like food. You haven't recently but I can cook."
"Of course. I'm nearly done for the day." Horatio smiled and left, going to prepare dinner. Ryan smiled to himself. He loved being a daddy. It just made his day!