by B. Cavis

by B. Cavis


Contrary to popular belief, Alex is skilled. Very skilled.

Those around her seem to forget it sometimes (i.e. all the time she's around Bobby Goren) and it irritates her, but she doesn't allow herself to fall into agreement with them. She knows what she's doing, and has for a long time. She doesn't doubt this for a minute, and she knows her superiors don't either. Deakins didn't put her with the half-crazed genius because of her pretty hair and nice smile.

Alexandra Eames has substance, and it flows in thin blue lines through all the veins in her body.

While she never second guesses her own productivity, she sometimes has to wonder how much of an idiot she must seem to be if everyone around her looks at her like she's a sidekick. But she knows she has the talent and ability needed to do this job. She needs no further proof of this than the fact that she manages to find her partner before he's drunken himself into oblivion and crashed in a gutter.

It's no small feat, her pride reminds her, considering the state he was in when she last saw him and the state he was intent on placing himself in before the night was out. She feels a little burst of appreciation at the thought, and relishes it for as long as is prudent to her situation. It feels nice to have self confidence when everyone else looks at you and sees someone sub-par.

She's bordering on becoming her partner's Watson, and she knows it, and doesn't like it. She's been setting herself on a more interactive road, but there are still times when she finds herself falling into the old habit of standing by and just nodding her agreement with whatever comes out of the big lug's mouth. She's smarter than that.

Still, she's not psychic just yet. By the time she finds him, Bobby is still well and thoroughly shit faced. She allows herself a disappointed sigh, then reminds her high horse she shouldn't judge the man with the schizophrenic mother and alcoholic dead-beat dad.

The bartender looks at her and she can see the classification in his eyes. She's either a girlfriend or a mistress, come to drag him out of his stupor and steal business away. Alex carefully counts the number of glasses in front of him, then slaps down a twenty on the counter, leaving a dollar or so for the tip. The bartender gives her a sour look, but takes it and declares Bobby a lost cause.

It takes the Rain Man a few moments to realize that the bartender is ignoring his motions for more alcohol, and about a minute longer to look next to him at what might have caused this.

"Alexandra!" He slurs the "x" but she has bigger problems.

"Bobby," she responds, and takes him by the hand. "Come on, time to go."

He doesn't move, unsure of what she's saying. "You come to take me home, Alexandra?"

Why not, she thinks. Alex doesn't trust him by himself tonight. Not in the aftermath of this many shots and this many forlorn thoughts of the crook that got away. She takes a second to curse Nicole/Elizabeth/Skanky-ho before nodding. "Yeah Bobby, you're coming home with me."

A leer. She wishes, not entirely half-heartedly, that he would look at her like that when he was sober. "You think you can handle me? Babe?" The alcohol is heavy on his breath, and his seduction smells like 10-year-old scotch. The hand holding hers creeps up her side to nudge her top up one hip. His eyes take in the pale skin there, his mouth forming a little "o" of fascination as he touches the area where her hipbone protrudes underneath her flesh. "I might break you," he whispers to himself, taking in the texture of her epidermis and the feel of her skeleton under his hands. He thinks he could get lost in this woman, and knows that the thought is only half drunk. It scares him, and he finishes off the remainder of his glass in one fell swoop.

Alex hides the shiver well, but not well enough.

"I don't know, Bobby." She thinks she sounds pretty confident, and that's of great relief, as she feels anything but. "Do you think you're up to the challenge?"

Big grin. From him, of course. She won't allow herself to truly appreciate this moment until much, much later, when she's far away from this drunk but still sexy as hell man. Must have her priorities in order, after all, she thinks to herself reassuringly.

"Oh," he groans to one or both of them, "you're going to be so much fun to unravel."

She takes him outside and tries to put some distance between them and the bar. He's leaning more heavily on her now, and she has to use all her upper body strength to keep him from falling. A big man is her Bobby, and it doesn't help that every time he pushes her up against a brick wall and begins to inch her shirt back up, half of her wants to let him succeed.

By the time she makes it to a cab, she's feeling her confidence fighting to free itself of her. Her arms are shaking, unaccustomed to his bulk, and she looks like he did fuck her up against the wall and was then put hastily back together. The cabbie gives her a knowing look, but she looks him straight in the eye and doesn't blink as she gives him her address.

Bobby's on her in the cab, his fingers clinging to all the right areas and his hands in all the sensitive places that he's somehow managed to find in the ten minutes he's been allowed carnal knowledge of her body. One of his hands continues its crawl up her stomach, while the other is planted firmly between her legs, rubbing the denim against her core in all the ways that make her want to shiver and straddle his lap until he makes the ache he's responsible for go away.

His mouth at her ear is licking and sucking periodically on her earlobe and throat; a vampire reborn in Armani.

"Come on, Alexandra." He only slurred the "r" this time, she thinks to herself. He must be sobering a little bit. "It's not nice to get a guy all worked up and then leave him hard and wanting. Didn't your daddy ever tell you it was mean to tease?"

She winces at the mention of her father; discretely, but he sees it anyhow. At that moment, she wants nothing more than to shove him out of the cab and tell the driver to floor it, but she doesn't, more out of the knowledge of how he would treat her in a reversed situation than any sort of tolerance for him.

"Oh, that's right," he says in a sour voice. "Daddy wasn't really one to preach to you about anything, now was he?" He's angry now; bitter that she won't take his offer to unravel her seriously. He's already been torn by one woman tonight, and he doesn't like the idea that another one of them can do it to him so soon. He should be better than that, he tells himself, and pushes forward in spite of the sadness looming in his partner's eyes.

"He stole from the department, didn't he?" He clucked his tongue in disapproval. "Very, very unprofessional. Not a good example to set for one's children at all." She looks away, searching for strength in the license posted on the divider window in front of her, but can't find it there. His audience isn't a captive one, and that infuriates him even more. She watches, more than experiences, his hand come out and grab her chin, holding her face between two fingers as he forces her to make eye contact with him as he continues on with the twisted retelling of her childhood.

"Why did he do it, d'you think?" His pointer finger is trailing up and down her cheek in a mock lover's touch. "Was it for your mother?" He rolls the word around in his mouth for a moment. "Did she want the shiny new necklace she saw in that magazine? Did she beg him for it? Plead for it? Did she berate him?" He's still looking for retribution in her face. She refuses to let him have it, even though she knows he's just going to keep going until she can't stand her weak defenses up anymore. Her pride is too great to let him have the victory he doesn't deserve, and she's wearing her leather jacket for confidence.

Bobby shakes his head slowly. "No. It wasn't for mommie, was it? It was for you." She wishes he was gone. She wishes he was blind. She wishes he was mute. "Yeah," he warms to the idea, "it was for you. For your teenage career. It's not cheap to become prom queen after all." He nods to himself. "He did it all for you, didn't he?"

She searches for her partner in the creases of his face, but can't find the man she knows in this stranger. His eyes are dark and mean and his cheeks are red with drink. The fact that this stranger, the man impersonating her partner, probably won't remember any of this in the morning makes her feel all right about saying it.

"I don't know, Bobby," she tells him, the acid burning her tongue as she forms the words. "Didn't your dad do everything he did for you and your mom?"

They don't say anything for the rest of the ride. He keeps his hands to himself more or less, but the palm cradling her firm chin remains in place. They don't look away, and his finger's caress stops feeling fake on her skin. She looks at his face and sees the sparks of Bobby beginning to reappear, and welcomes them. She has missed him, and the stranger has been frightening the little part of her that still feels intimidated by large, powerful, scary, mentally skilled men who could crush her with one hand.

The get out of the taxi and up to her apartment with few problems beyond the fact that Bobby seems to want to keep close contact with her skin, her face most of all, which gets to be a little bit complicated when she's trying to do things like open her door and calm down her dog, but they manage it as they go along.

Alex takes him into her kitchen and pours Zabars coffee and water down his throat for a good ten minutes, then watches him to see if he's going to become sick from one of the three fluids he's been drinking tonight. He doesn't, but she watches for a while longer anyway, not wanting to take her eyes off him for fear that if she ignores him, the stranger will hijack his body again and she'll have to relive another Fractured Eames Fairytale.

Bobby trails his fingers along the bookshelves, picking out random tittles and mentally filing them away for further research. He sees ones in Spanish, French, and Japanese, and wonders where she found the time to learn the languages and why he didn't know about these things already. He doesn't ever let himself forget that Alex is an intelligent and skilled woman, but he drew his own personal line at learning Japanese, and it shocks him that she could do it.

When she's drank her fill of his image, and she's absolutely sure he's not going to blow chunks on her carpet, she takes him into her bedroom. He glances around, looking for the pinker version of her furnishings while she strips him down to his boxers and dress shirt. The coffee and water have made him more malleable, and it doesn't take much effort at all to maneuver him into her bed. His cheek rests on her pillow as he watches her move around the room, folding up his pants and putting them over the back of her chair. By the time she hangs up his jacket, he's asleep, snoring lightly as the light from the streetlamps comes in to paint golden streaks across his face.

Alex watches her partner sleep for a bit, then goes over to the closet and takes out her black leather trench coat (much longer than the bike jacket she's got on now) and the plaid bondage skirt she'd bought herself in a moment of insanity at Hot Topic. She's going hunting, and she needs the power and courage the short hemline and long tail length will give her. She laces up her soft black leather boots, the ones that come up to about an inch below her knees and puts on a few pieces of silver jewelry.

She finds a bright blue post-it in the junk drawer, and she scribbles Bobby a note. I'm at the store, she says, grabbing a few things. Don't worry, it's all okay, I'm not pissed, yada, yada, yada. She knows he'll worry anyhow, but it makes her feel better to at least try and reassure him.

She sits down at the kitchen table and thinks for a long moment, then gets up and goes to call her third cab of the evening, not wanting to bother with getting her car out of the garage and finding a space. Bobby sleeps on, surrounded by her lavender and Arm & Hammer scented sheets.

And in what she recognizes to be her second great act of intelligence of the night (and by far the harder of the two), it only takes Alex half and hour to find Nicole/Elizabeth/Skanky-ho.


Alex smiles her way into the restaurant, flashing the matron a bit of her blue satin panties to allow her in the way she's dressed. She takes the offered seat, and watches Nicole and her latest from over her water glass.

The Aussie is dressed impeccably well, looking like she just mugged a Milan model. Her date is either a lawyer or a stock broker-- he's a suit, and he wears it well. Alex reads them both for a long minute, then gets up and walks over to the table, her hips swaying as the skirt does its work.

Nicole looks up when she comes over, her mouth frozen around the word "check." She thought Alex was the waitress, and the misconception pleases the detective to no end. She turns her attention towards the suit and smiles. "Your wife is on her way in. I just thought you might like to know." But he's gone by the word "just," disappearing into the kitchen and out a back door. Alex looks down at Nicole and takes the recently vacated seat, crossing her legs so that the tip of her boot just brushes her companion's kneecap.

Nicole swallows her shock and sits back with a complacent expression on her face. "Detective Eames, what can I do to help you?" She tries to read the other woman's expression, but Alex's face is blank and calm. Nicole glances over her shoulder for Bobby but doesn't see him, and this disconcerts her.

She could move Bobby, even if it did cause her some great emotional pain, but she's not sure what she can do to Alex. She never bothered to look her up in any great detail-- Bobby was the one who posed the threat. Nicole mentally kicks herself for the failure, but moves on.

Alex really hates the way her last name sounds when this woman says it.

"Drop the detective, Nicole, dear. You've already figured out, no doubt, that I am not here on any official business. You shall not be arrested at this meeting, have no fear." Alex takes a delicate sip of the Suit's wine, wrinkles her nose at the poor quality, and puts it back down. "Awful-- I'm here for another reason entirely." She is enjoying this way too much.

Nicole is looking unsettled. Alex's voice is far more cultured than it was when they were in the precinct, and she wonders if that is a good or bad indication of... what? Nevertheless, the blond woman clings to her composure. She'd learnt nothing in prison if not how to maintain a proper game face. "Do tell." She doesn't dispute the name, and Alex is glad for it. It really would be a bother to have to go over that familiar territory once more.

"No, I'm sure you can guess. I'm here for... well? What do you think?" Alex steeples her fingers in front of her calmly.


"Right in one!" Alex smiles, applauding the achievement. Nicole looks sour.

"I have done nothing to Bobby, Detective." She glances at the window, using the reflection to search for escape routes. Alex pretends she doesn't notice.

Alex's skirt rides up a comfortable inch further, and she settles back in her chair. "That, I do believe, is a deliberate falsehood on your part, and we both know it."

Neither one of them says a word for a long moment.

"You aren't here on any official capacity, Detective," Nicole stresses the word. "What's to stop me from leaving?"

Alex feels the adrenaline enter her system with a dull rush of power, and welcomes the butterflies in her stomach. "Well, besides the fact that you haven't finished your meal... The fact that if you take one step away from this table, I will kill you." She took a nibble on the end of a breadstick, only to wince. "Stale-- you honestly have no choice in food at all, do you?"

Nicole isn't listening. Her eyes have gone narrow and calm. "You don't have the-"

"Balls?" Alex smiles, genuinely for the first time that night. She feels free of guilt and worry, though the tremors are making their steady way through her system. "I borrowed my partner's. He wasn't using them at the time." She leans forward very close, her hands folded on the table in front of her. "Do you honestly think I couldn't do it if I wanted to? Leave you to decomp in a back alleyway?" Nicole looks down at the hands, searching for blood of victims past. "I'll let you in on a little something-- I could call in and tell them you came at me with a gun. Tried to stab me-- strangle me, it doesn't matter. I could call and say you followed me here and took a shot at me, and even though you'd end up dead, I'd be the victim here." The truth in her words is steady and firm, and Alex is proud of the fact that her voice does not give way the uncertainty she has inside. She hopes Bobby is still sleeping. "I don't need a drop gun. If I kill you..."

"What?" Nicole orders. "If you kill me, what?"

Alex decides to let the harsh tone pass. "If I kill you, they'll be so proud of me they'll have Carver bringing me coffee for a month. If I kill you, it goes down as productivity in their books. You'd be an increase in my solve rate." She has the sudden urge to take up smoking; irrational and random, but there nonetheless. "They'd love for me to let them bury you six feet deep without the bothers of a legal process or the press. I'd be a hero who took out a murderer who tried to beat her rap on a technicality. The American people, Nicole, don't like technicalities."

Nicole feels her legs start to shake a little and she puts one hand down to steady them. She knows Alex can feel her trembling, and is suddenly very, very afraid. This is not the same Detective Eames who was in the police station today. Not the one who kept her mouth shut and her eyes open, chiming in every now and then to try and keep Bobby's rhythm going. This is not the small woman who's face Nicole looked into and declared herself Elizabeth.

This new creature, well, this is something else. Nicole had seen women like this when she was in prison; who's eyes reflected nothing of what they felt. The ones that could kill her without losing sleep or food rations. She feels her inner calm tremble on its foundation, and she can't bring herself to look at the woman in front of her anymore.

"What do you want?"

Alex smiles at being taken seriously. "What do I want? I want you gone." She realizes how territorial she sounds, and hastens to expand. "I want you out of the city, and out of his life. You erase your tracks so he can't follow. And you don't come back. Ever." She turns her hands palm up to the ceiling in an expression of helplessness; fate controlled. "If I ever see you again in this city, or if you try and contact him, I will kill you, Nicole. And that's all there is to it."

Nicole forces herself to look up at her enemy. "Why are you doing this? Why do you care so much about any of this?" she asks.

And is responded to with a shrug. "He's my partner. And you're a bitch." Alex sighs, feeling that line was a little cliché. "I don't like you. You hurt him, make him feel miserable. And when Bobby's miserable, it's upsetting." She brightens. "So, the only thing to do is to get rid of the problem."



Nicole grabs her bag and goes to rise, her legs bumping into Alex's boots as she does. The Detective waits for her to get to her feet before launching her hand out and grabbing her around the wrist, gripping until she can feel the bones grating together. Nicole's face pales.

"Remember." Alex warns. "You come back and I'll kill you." And she lets go.

Nicole runs out of the restaurant. Alex sees her get into a Mercedes and peel out of her parking space, almost hitting three cars in her haste to get away.

Alex sits at the table until she's sure her legs won't collapse out from underneath her, then rises and heads for home. This cabbie is an old black man, old enough to be her father, and he looks like he belongs more in a jazz club playing clarinet than here with her, but she appreciates the company. He makes small talk with her, and she finds herself enjoying the friendly banter. When she gets out of the cab, he tells her "Have a good night, lady. You deserve it."

She gives him a ten dollar tip, then runs upstairs before she can feel bad about it. He gave her the most enjoyable conversation of her night, and she feels that deserves some reward. He stares up after her, a grin on his face as she goes up the stairs two at a time with childish glee.

Bobby hasn't woken up yet when she gets into her bedroom. She crumples up the Post-It. The boots have begun to cling to her legs, and when she takes them off they make ripping sounds against her skin. She relishes this little detail about the night, knowing that with her eclectic and selective memory, she'll remember this part about it more than anything else.

She undresses and slips into her favorite pair of red satin PJs, before pulling back the covers on the other side of the bed and climbing in beside her warm smelling partner. She knows that if he were in her position, he would sleep on the couch while leaving her the privacy of her bed, but she wants his company now, even if he's asleep, and goddamit it's her bed; she's not going to spend a night on the couch just to avoid some queries in the morning.

As if he senses she's there, Bobby slips over behind her. She feels his warmth up against her back for just a moment before he wraps one arm around her waist and pulls her back to curve against the cradle of his limbs. She thinks of pushing him away, but decides against it. He smells really, really good, and she can't be expected to think straight when she's surrounded by warm Bobby smell.

She slips off to sleep with the warmth of his breath against her ear and the comfort of his arm curled right underneath her breasts as his huge hand cups her ribcage gently. She doesn't think about her night, about what he's said or she's said or Nicole said. She just focuses in on the feeling, and the unquestionable knowledge that somehow she'll figure it out takes her over, and she feels better in the aftermath.

Sometime around four that morning, Nicole crosses the border into Illinois. She keeps driving.


Bobby stirs sometime around six, and is confronted with the knowledge that there is someone warm curled up beside him. He smiles to himself when he recognizes Alex's hair, and pulls her closer, before drifting back into sleep. It’s too early to be rational or remorseful about the night he can’t remember at at six in the morning.

When the clock reports a decent hour, they start to come back to themselves, slowly but surely. Alex wakes up first because the light from her cracked Venetian blinds has made its way into her face, and no amount of tossing or turning would hide her from it. Bobby has tangled his limbs with her legs and arms and his body around every inch of her figure he could get at. She feels completely engulfed, dwarfed by his presence, and she likes it more than she ever thought possible. It's something very primal in her that still responds to the idea of a larger man being able to protect her and provide strong offspring. She wonders how Bobby would react if she asked him to provide her with offspring, then laughs at the thought and gets out of bed.

She can’t feel Nicole nearby anymore, and the calm that has settled over her is both deeply relaxing and gratifying. She likes the idea that she’s run someone out of town-- very Clint Eastwood, her inner father figure reports with pride, and she puffs her chest out in celebration of the accomplishment. She takes the moment or so she has before her body starts slumping without its caffeine to do a victory dance/wiggle in front of the mirror.

Who’s bad? I’m bad! She grins and shakes her hips., before reminding herself that Bobby could chose any particular moment to awaken, and as she’s working hard on getting him unclothed in her bed, it might not be the best image to give of how she acts first thing in the morning.

She walks into the kitchen to make life giving coffee. Bobby rolls over into her warm spot and breathes her pillow deep into his nostril, rubbing his morning beard against the cotton.

It takes him a moment to realize that it smells like his partner instead of his morning breath.

After sitting up in fast acting shock (which was very much not a good idea, as fast acting shock invokes fast acting hangovers) he takes the moment he needs to get his bearings straight. He remembers seeing the room last night, but it was distinctively more… fuzzy. Unsteady. Drunken.

Crap, he thinks to himself, I went and got shit faced.

Bobby is well aware that he is not the most pleasant drunk in the whole world. In fact, he’s down right not nice. Mean, even. Very, very cruel. It’s one of the downsides to being a misunderstood genius. When he looses his inhibitions, it’s not a fun thing for those around him. All those little thoughts, all those observations that he makes that are just too awful to be said aloud start coming out of his mouth and he is helpless to stop them.

He prays he was smart enough to keep from hurting Alex, but knows the odds are against him.

She’s making delicious smells float in from the kitchen, and his stomach wants nothing more than to head in that general direction, but his brain in starting to clear, and he’s remembering some of the insults that spilled from his mouth last night. The part of him that still remembers hiding under the bed after breaking his mother’s favorite vase as a child orders him to find a place to cover himself from her sight and keep her from retaliating. The idea of facing himself is more horrific than that of facing her, and he forces himself out of her bed (damn, and he wasn’t even sober for it!) and into the kitchen.

The sun is pouring into the room from the window behind her, and it lights her up like fire. The halo around her head keeps his eyes focused and steady. It’s hard to be hung over in the presence this woman, but after a minute or so of staring at her light source, he knows he’s managed.

She glances up at him just when he’s getting up his cowardice to sneak out the front door and ask Deakins for a transfer. Her face brightens gently. “Oh. Hey.”

He wonders what he did to make her still be able to speak to him. Maybe he did have sex with her, and the orgasm was just so good she can’t be mad, he thinks fervently. He’s caught between desperately wanting the knowledge that he made Alexandra Eames orgasm, and dreading the idea that he can’t remember doing it.

“Hi,” he manages to gasp when he finally finds his voice. She smiles wider at the sound.

“Come on. You need coffee and I need company.” She bustles around in that way she has of making it absolutely clear she owns the world, and he swallows as her space threatens to engulf him. She motions towards the kitchen table, but instead he sits on the counter, watching her move in and out of his grasp with such an easy confidence that he wonders if she was drunk last night too and has forgotten his behavior where he is oh so horribly remembering it.

He thinks fuzzily that she looks good in pink, especially in pink satin, and when he emerges from the thought process, he finds her holding out a cup of life giving substance and aspirin. He gobbles both up hungrily, and then looks up at her from under his brow, judging her reaction. If she poisoned the coffee, he thinks to himself, she should probably start cackling maniacally right about now.

He’s not sure if he’s relieved or disappointed that she remains cackle-free.

She sucks down her own cup before speaking again, and when she deems him ready for what she has to say, she climbs up beside him on the counter. Her foot is just brushing against his calf, and he finds himself focused on that little distraction, instead of looking into her face. Anything to avoid looking at her face.


He blinks. She didn’t sound homicidal there, and he can usually tell. Maybe it’s the aspirin, dulling his senses.

“Bobby, I’m not mad.“ His head jumps up once more, and he groans as the hangover reminds him it’s not quite gone just yet. She waits until he opens his eyes again to speak. “You don’t have to look so forlorn, you know. It’s really too early for it.”

He blinks at her. “Alex,”: he warns, “you don’t have to forgive me. You probably shouldn’t. I can remember saying….” a flash of heat in his fingers as he remembers how warm she felt through the jeans when he rubbed her just there and how her skin felt rubbing on each nerve sensor he has… “--Doing some pretty mean things to you.”

She rolls her head on her neck, and he remembers how she moved up against that third brick wall he pinned her too-- body gyrating helplessly beneath his, head leaning forward against his chest as she panted for breath. He wonders if he’s ever going to be able to look at her again without seeing that image, but forces himself to focus when he realizes that she’s been talking again.

“…nothing I couldn’t handle.” She smiles bravely, more bravely than she feels considering she can still feel his touch running up and down her waist. “You weren’t all that bad.”

He shakes his head once more. “Don’t-- I was horrible to you. You never, never, would have treated me like I treated you.”

She laughs, and he’s caught in the sound for the barest of moments before reminding himself that he’s still in his remorseful period for what he did to Eames and what he couldn’t do for Nicole’s inner child. He feels the inner torment start to rise once more, but she clamps it down with the efficient and simple method of putting her hand up against the back of his neck and realigning him to her and the present.

“Obviously,” she grins, “you’ve never seen me drunk.”

He feels himself grinning foolishly in return, and finds himself taking advantage of their early morning casual air by leaning forward and pressing his brow tightly to hers. She allows him the indulgence, and the smile doesn’t leave her lips.

They sit like that for a moment or two, brains fused at the frontal lobes, before reality dawns and they pull back. He accepts the second cup of coffee with silent acquiescence, and doesn’t complain when as their sitting across from each other on the counter (the table feels lonely) she takes the front cover of the paper, leaving him the Metro section..

Nicole wonders if California is far enough away, but makes plans to charter a flight to the Caymans anyhow. She doesn’t want to place bets on the idea that the woman she saw replace Detective Eames will come back to haunt her, and she doesn’t yet feel safe being in one place. She feels disconcerted that she was able to be found so easily, and the urge to call and tease Bobby is quickly over powered by that nervousness. Fear is a great motivational tool for her.

Bobby steals the front section away from Alex. She grins and start doing the Crossword in retaliation. Their feet make little sweat prints on the countertop, and they have to be at work in an hour or so, but they can’t bring themselves to be too bothered by it. Let Deakins tap his fingers on his arm, Alex thinks proudly. I scared off the Skanky-ho last night.

She does a little victory dance on the counter. Bobby grins behind his paper, though he doesn’t know why it’s so amusing. He has the vague feeling that something big happened that she hasn’t told him about yet, but he’s not too worried. He knows it’s all okay this morning. Alex glances over at him and grins.

In this heightened state of awareness, there is only room for the two of them and the dark roast.


Deakins knows, logically, that he has no reason to suspect anything.

It’s not like there’s been anything weird, at least not any weirder than normal, going on with them. They sit the same distance apart when talking to Carver. They show up on time-- earlier than needed, in fact. They haven’t touched each other once all week except for when Alex was knocked down by the fleeing suspect on Wednesday, and he offered her his hand to get her back on her feet.

No, his two best haven’t actually done a single thing that can been construed as unprofessional. He wonders if what he is doing right now is even half as appropriate.

Is it right, he wonders, to think about them in such a way? To even acknowlegde that they have private lives? To consider that those private lives may intersect? Isn't that the whole part of having a private life, he berates his curiosity-- to make sure people like him don't see it?

Only he does see it. Because he's looking for it.

He can see it in the way they're sitting, in the tone of their voices, in the curves of their iron infused spines. Alex's lips move and he knows she's talking to Bobby, but they're sitting in such a way that the much larger man doesn't even have to bend his head to catch it. A smile appears on the large man's face, and Deakins looks away guiltily, searching the room for witnesses to his peeping tom moment.

No one's looking at him. No one's looking at them either. He wonders if he's really the only one who can see what they're doing, and then takes the moment to hope to whatever God is listening that he is. He's forgiving, at least. Others, he knows, would not be so kind. What they're doing is against policy, and if one or more of the many people in the precinct who would rather not have Alex Eames and Bobby Goren paired together ever caught a whiff of what they're doing, he knows they'd have some serious trouble on their hands. Success, as it so often does, has bread jealousy in this case, and he worries that someone who envies their solve rate and their closeness might do something to endanger their partnership.

Being the best does not inspire many true friends.

Bobby crosses his leg across his lap and puts his hand on his ankle so that it's just touching her calf. They've positioned the chairs so they can do things like that. Deakins feels a trace of anger towards them-- do they think they are invincible? Untouchable? That the rules don't apply to them? He wonders what makes him angrier: the fact that they think this or the fact that they're right.

Being the best may not inspire friends, but it does inspire respect. Need. The department would bend over backwards to keep them on the force, to keep them together and working the way they do. He knows this, but he was hoping they hadn't quite figured it out yet. It makes things difficult when employees know they are needed more by the employer than the other way around.

He chuckled to himself at the idea of Bobby and Alex being "employees."

Alex puts her hand on Bobby's arm, and his own comes up to cup her fingers soothingly. They look at each other for a long moment, before Alex cracks a joke and Bobby's face breaks into a grin.

He sees it again. They're doing it again.

Deakins tries to tell himself that it’s nothing major-- that it’s been a along and emotionally exhausting day for the both of them. Bobby was more… mentally unstable this afternoon than he’s been in a long while. Over the past week and a half he’s been calmer, less jumpy than usual. Deakins and Alex both watched him come unraveled once more for this case, taking each new development personally. When the case eventually ended this afternoon, Deakins was afraid that Bobby wouldn’t be able to function.

He should have known better, and he realizes it now. Bobby would finish his investigation if he was bleeding from the head, if only to keep from letting the other half of the partnership down.

Alex has been acting differently too; her eyes have been sharper, more on touch, her mind making jumps of logic with much less explanation provided to the outside world. Usually, she’s the one who fills in Bobby’s blanks; translates his mind. Now, they’re both quiet, both locked into a single throbbing though process, leaving others behind with more ease. Sitting where they are now, bodies totally relaxed in pictures of exhausted symmetry, their interlocking personalities become even more obvious. The perfect partnerss; his best.

…They look so cute.

He hates himself for the thought--- really, they’re doing something that should have him fuming, have him yelling, have him scratching his head and wondering why he’s so pissed off at what is probably a completely innocent situation. After all, it's not like they're french kissing.

Deakins quickly checks the window again just to make sure they're not, then sighs and leans back against the wall. His heart is safe for at least another day.

He knows that eventually, he will have to go in there. It's his office, after all, and he called them for a meeting to discus the end of the case. At the time, he wanted to make sure they were both satisfied and all right.

He thinks he can be sure of both at this point.

He looks down at the new manilla folder in his hands and takes a deep breath. Personally, he dislikes giving them another assignment so soon after they finished the last one. Everyone should have at least a day of down time before stressing out once more, but it's not his decision, as his superiors made adamantly clear when telling him who he was going to give this to.

Glanging back in the room, he watches as Alex plays with Bobby's watch and he lets her, smiling as she puts it on her own wrist and firmly turns away from him, refusing to give it back. Deakins watches as he grabs her from behind to wrestle it from her grasp and ignores the peals of laughter that come from her throat as she gasps for mercy. He finds a smile on his lips when he next checks.

He straightens his spine and puts the folder under his arm. Saying a silent prayer for the best possible results, he presses forward and waits until they're back in their own personal areas before putting his hand on the door and preparing himself to go in.

Alex and Bobby are waiting.


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