Salt Water
Michelle Perry

Horatio stared at him for several minutes. He was gone. His happiness was gone with him. Horatio sat by Speed's side for several moments, almost as if he were frozen in place. Finally he moved, but only to raise his eyes and stop staring at the fallen man.

There were no tears. There were not tears enough to comprehend his pain. But still... why were there no tears? Why were there never tears? Even when his mother died, and he'd stabbed his own father to death trying to stop him from killing her, he hadn't cried for at least two weeks after the event. They said it was shock, but since then, he had never cried at death. No matter how heavy his heart might be, no matter how it wrenched in his gut, or ripped his spirit apart, there was never a single drop of salt water to be seen trailing down his cheek. Why not? Surely it was something all humans did when they grieved? Even hard, strong, grown men must cry some time. Could he be inhuman?

There was a sound behind him. A step, a gasp, a distraught outcry. "It's true!" A hand touched him, Yelina's voice, speaking to him directly, called him back to reality. "My God, Horatio, I am so sorry." He couldn't look at her yet, but he managed a nod. There was silence for a few moments, and her hand was gone. "I'll clear the area," she said. Her voice told him she was either shedding or fighting tears herself. "Alexx is on her way."

Horatio said nothing. There were never words immediately after death, any more than there were tears. Before long, there was another hand on his shoulder. Alexx, telling him to let go, and let her take over. He looked at her. She was safe. He could trust her to take over from here. She would know how to take care of Speedle.

Horatio rose to his feet. It was time to take care of business. There would be plenty of time to contemplate dry eyes in the face of unimaginable sorrow later. Now, it was time to bring justice to the dead, and take down any and all people connected with stealing this life, and bringing about such terrible sorrow. It was time to do what he did best.


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