My Immortal
Chapter 4 - Haunted

After Horatio was asleep, and Speed knew he would be dead to the world for at least eight hours, Speed went into Horatio's study, closed the door behind him, and sat down at the desk. He set the small notepad in front of him and pulled out one of Horatio's less fancy pens. (He wasn't technically allowed to touch the fancier ones.) He set the pen to the page, and started to write his name.

Speed frowned, perplexed. For some reason, his hand refused to respond to him. He stared at it, willing it to move, but his arm simply refused to obey him. Frightened, he put the pen down and wiggled his fingers. Normal. He mimicked the act of writing. No problems. So, he wasn't loosing mobility. However, the moment he set pen to page, it was as if his arm belonged to someone else. The simple act of writing the letter "S" took a tremendous amount of effort, and attempting to write his name actually left him breathless. The result of all his efforts was a frustratingly unreadable squiggle.

Speed tossed the pen down in disgust and looked for a pencil. The new instrument made no difference. It was as if a barrier had been put up between his brain and his arm, blocking all attempts at writing. He made several attempts on the first sheet of paper, but only succeeded in making several scratchy marks on the page. He crumpled it up and tried on a new sheet, working as methodically as he could. Again, he was met with failure. "Dammit!" he cried, pounding the desk with his fist. "I'm a Level III Detective with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and years of police experience, but I can't write my own fucking name!" With his last word, all the pens and pencils on the desk flew off, striking the wall across from him.

Speed gasped, then listened for any noise from the bedroom. He heard rustling, and hastened to put the pens and pencils back where they belonged. Before he could hide the notepad, Horatio entered the room. He stood in the doorway, looking bleary-eyed and confused. He scowled at the desk and Speed sighed. Horatio wasn't the lead CSI for nothing. A single glance at his desk, and he would know if even one item was a millimeter out of place. Speed was sure the desk looked completely wrong to Horatio's keen eye.

He approached the desk slowly and inspected the notepad. Speed's illegible scribbles covered the page, and Horatio stared at it for a long time. He picked his pens and inspected them each from every angle. After several minutes spent studying the desk, and the chair in front of it, Horatio looked around the room suspiciously. He checked out the entire house, then shook his head, downed a couple of aspirin and went back to

Speed waited until he was sure Horatio was asleep and decided to try again. He met with no further success, finally abandoning the project several hours (and several sheets of paper) later. He threw his failed attempts in the trash and went back to his favorite pass time - watching Horatio sleep.

When Horatio awoke the next morning, the first place he went was to the study. He stared at the desk for a few moments before approaching it. Speed cursed his stupidity when Horatio noticed the full trash can. Why didn't I hide that somewhere? Horatio stared at the crumpled pieces of paper, his breathing moving just a little faster and more shallow than it had before. He pulled all the papers out of the trash, spread them out on the floor and sat in front of them, studying them much like a child with a new puzzle. Horatio turned the papers in different directions, moved them around, and stared at them for long moments, patiently piecing together some pattern that Speed couldn't figure out.

Eventually, he seemed to have caught onto something. Speed watched, fascinated, as Horatio moved the sheets around with more purpose. When he finally put the last piece of paper in place, Speed gaped in amazement, and Horatio jumped from his seat on the floor and edged away, white-faced. Somehow, when arranged properly, the white spaces between the many failed writing attempts formed a single word: "Speedle."

Horatio backed up, reaching behind him with a shaking hand, until he grasped the door knob. He wrenched it open, stepped out and slammed the door shut. Speed went after him, opting to deal with the somewhat disturbing sensation of walking through solid objects rather than terrify Horatio further by opening the door. When Speed found him, Horatio was struggling to open his liquor cabinet. Unsuccessful, he searched for the key, growling in frustration when he couldn't find it. He cast a worried glance toward the study, then shook his head and went into the bathroom.

Speed usually left Horatio alone for his morning ritual, just as he had in life, but this time he was worried about Horatio's state of mind. He snuck in behind him, just to keep watch. Horatio went about his usual routine, occasionally muttering to himself about needing to get a grip and stop obsessing. "It must have been me. I must be seeing things." Speed sighed and sat on the floor out of Horatio's way. He'd wanted to let Horatio know he was there, but the writing method just wasn't going to work. It was too easy for H to explain it away, and it took too long. Not to mention the fact that Horatio seemed to move closer to nervous break down every time Speed let himself be noticed. Maybe it was selfish to insist on making contact. Maybe...

Speed's thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a completely naked Horatio stepping into the shower. He grinned and stood up, moving closer to the shower. Without moving the curtain, Speed peeked inside. His grin widened, as he suddenly realized just exactly how long it had been since he'd seen Horatio naked. Feeling just a little bit naughty, he stepped fully into the shower to enjoy the show, not even noticing that the water that missed Horatio went right through him. He could feel a warmth within him starting to rise, and the room seemed to get steamier. He took a small step closer, and Horatio stiffened. He turned around slowly, scanning the shower and (however briefly) staring directly at Speed.

It was more than Speed could stand. Without stopping to think, he grabbed Horatio's wrists and shoved him against the shower wall. A terrified whimper escaped Horatio's throat, and Speed could actually feel the fear emanating from his trembling body. For a fleeting moment, Speed was keenly aware of his power over Horatio. He had complete control at this moment - he could do whatever he wanted, without any repercussions. No repercussions, perhaps, except the possible total loss of sanity on Horatio's part, and the massive amount of guilt that Speed would feel for taking advantage of the man he loved.

The moment passed, and Speed let Horatio go, chastising himself for his thoughts - fleeting as they may have been. Horatio didn't move for several seconds. Then suddenly, his stomach lurched visibly, and he put a hand to his mouth. He didn't even try to make it to the toilet - just bent over and started to heave. With each spasm, Speed felt a sharp pang of guilt. Poor H. He longed to stroke Horatio's back, or kiss him, or do something to make him feel better, but touching him right now could only make things worse. After a few minutes, Horatio's stomach seemed to settle, and he stepped quickly out of the shower. Speed went out with him, noticing that steam had filled the room, leaving fog on all the shiny surfaces.

Still shaken, Horatio pulled his robe on without bothering to dry off and rushed to get the door open. Suddenly, Speed got an idea. Whispering an apology to Horatio's nerves, he rushed to the door, faster than he could have ever moved when he was alive. He slammed the door shut before Horatio could get out. H let out a startled shout and backed away from the door. Speed locked the door, and shoved the small key underneath into the hallway. Horatio's eyed widened, and his breathing sped up considerably. Speed sped back to the mirror and attempted to make an "H". He was pleased to discover that the infuriating mental barrier he'd experienced with the pens and pencils didn't seem to apply when he used his finger. The "H" was perfect. Well, a perfect example of his handwriting, anyway. Ecstatic, he finished the simple message: "Hi."

Speed turned to Horatio, beaming with the pride of someone completing a great masterpiece. Although Horatio's breathing seemed to be slowing down from hyperventilation levels, his face was ashen, and he was still shaking violently. After a quick, nervous look around the room, he started to speak. "Who... who... are y-you?" he asked between shaken breaths.

Speed wrote another message underneath the first. "Speed".

Horatio let out a sound somewhere between a laugh and a cry of dismay. He slowly walked closer to the mirror, eyes focused on the second word. Speed saw tears forming in his eyes. He swallowed and looked around the room again, as if knowing would make Speed appear. "Are... are you in here right now?"

"Yes." Horatio took a deep breath and brought his hand to his mouth. He looked around again, clearly trying to find any evidence (beyond the mirror) that he was not alone. In what space was left, Speed wrote in another message. "Sorry I scared you. "

Horatio laughed - a genuine laugh this time - and at the same time, tears started to stream down his face. He shook his head. "It's... it's okay, Speed." He whispered the name again. "Speed." The room was already starting to cool, and the messages began to fade away. "No!" Horatio looked panicked for a second, then turned on the sink's hot tap full blast. He waited for steam to cover the mirror again, then licked his lips nervously. "Speed? Are you still here?"

Speed wrote the word "Yes" at the top of the mirror. Horatio let out a deep sigh of relief, and Speed smiled. Maybe it wasn't healthy for Horatio to hang on to a ghost, but it made him happy to know that Speed was there, and that was all Speed cared about. He wrote a new message on the mirror. "I love you. "

Horatio laughed again, tears flowing even faster. "I love you too, Speed. Oh God, I wish... I'm sorry about the store. I should have-."

Speed started writing before Horatio could finish. "Murderer's fault not yours. I love you."

Horatio smiled. "How long have you been here?"

"Followed you from store"

Horatio thought for a moment, probably calculating. "You've been in the house for over a week? "

"House, car, lab, callout, bar. You drink too much."

Horatio chuckled. "I know. I'll stop if you want me to."

"Yes. I love you, Horatio."

Horatio smiled broadly. "I..." Horatio's smile faltered. "My god, I must be insane," he whispered. "I'm talking to my mirror."

Speed frowned. That wasn't supposed to happen. "You're not crazy."

"Great. The mirror thinks I'm not crazy. That's perfect." Horatio sighed again and turned toward the bathroom door. He stopped short, and Speed remembered that he'd locked the door. Horatio started to look edgy again. He cleared his throat. "Um... Speed?" he said softly.

Speed wrote "I'll get the key" on the last of the fading steam.

Horatio swallowed nervously and read the message. "Thanks," he said, sounding a little breathless.

Speed stepped out, found the key and slid it back under the bathroom door. There was a long pause before he heard the door being unlocked. Horatio peeked out, looked around worriedly, then went to his bedroom. He got dressed slowly, hindered by his own nervousness. He kept looking around the room, as if worried that Speed was going to jump out at him from one of the walls. Eventually, he seemed to calm down some. He fixed his usual light breakfast and worked on the crossword, probably trying to comfort himself with his solid routines.

Speed decided to lay low for the rest of the day and try again tomorrow. He sat in his usual chair and watched Horatio eat. When he finished his meal, he washed dishes, then sat in his favorite armchair and turned on the television. Speed sat in his own chair, a couple of feet from Horatio's, and they watched the news station together. Just like a normal Saturday morning.

Chapter 3
Chapter 5

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