Forty-Seven: Chapter 1

DISCLAIMER: None of these characters are mine, but they are memorable. Thank you, Mr. Marlowe.

A/N: I was watching the episode 47 Seconds the a while ago and this story hit me. Just a variation on how both of our favorites could have reacted when Kate was interrogating Bobby, and how things could have developed afterwards. I hope everyone has had a great summer. It's been a summer of surprises. Spent time with our daughter on her final hurrah through the girls basketball circuit, and then headed out to Florida. A day before the trip, my dad goes into the hospital. So here I sit in ICU, learning patience all over again. I had started writing this weeks ago, so I am going to start posting those chapters that are already done. About 18 of them. And no worries, I won't be posting all of the at the same time. No one wants to read 18 chapters in a row in one sitting.

Tuesday Afternoon, March 27, 2012 - at the 12th Precinct Interrogation Room

"Bobby – Don't lie to me," she tells him, the fire smoldering behind eyes that have grown more than weary of the little game this perp is playing with her. No, she doesn't have the time – or the patience – for this anymore. Unfortunately, Bobby Lopez isn't reading the tea leaves, and steps all into it.

"I'm telling you, it was all a big blank," Bobby tells her, drawing an angry frown from Detective Kate Beckett. Then he makes his final mistake.

"It was the trauma."

The explosion is immediate, leaving a crater of ragged emotions in the interrogation room. These last two days have been so close for the detective and her writer. So close. The dance that both of them have become so adept at has suddenly – in the past couple of days – taken on a different tune, a different rhythm. She thinks about her words to him, earlier.

"It makes you think about all those things in your own life that you don't want to put off anymore."

It was a simple sentence, spawned by the heartbreaking reactions of - and discussions with - the family and survivors of the recent blast in the plaza that is the focus of the current investigation – and this interrogation. A simple sentence born from watching strangers weep in the morgue, staring at the lifeless bodies of loved ones, their plans shattered, their unsaid words now locked away forever.

It reminds her of an old song from the 60's that somehow became a part of her consciousness years ago. Something about the words that resonated with a somewhat rebellious young girl.

In this world today while we're living, some folks say the worst of us they can

But when we are dead and in our caskets, they always slip some lilies in your hand

Won't you give me flowers while I'm living and let me enjoy them while I can

Please don't wait till I'm ready to be buried and then slip some lilies in my hand

Again, she thinks about the simple sentence she shared with him. A sentence, a thought that had been planted, watered and nurtured. When the thought broke through the ground, reaching sunlight, it surprised her to hear the words come out of her mouth. Not that she felt this way – just that she would verbalize it.

"It makes you think about all those things in your own life that you don't want to put off anymore."

But for Detective Kate Beckett, this flower now breathing sunlight was far more than just a simple sentence. It was far more than the typical innuendo she has become comfortable throwing his way. And he seemed to get it! He seemed to understand the subtle shift in their music. That was the exciting part. Later, he began talking to her about missed opportunities, and had they not been interrupted, well - who knows where their talk would have gone?

And behind it all is the dark and ominous, ever-growing cloud. Behind it all is her knowledge of what she continues to withhold from him; her knowledge of his admission to her, almost a year ago as she lay dying in the cemetery. That knowledge, it pricks her. It is the proverbial itch she cannot scratch, and after almost a year of this self-inflicted wound, perhaps that is why it is so fresh on her mind, in this room on this afternoon.

Perhaps that is why it spills out before she can catch herself.

"It was not the trauma," she explodes. "You don't get to use that excuse."

"I swear I don't remember," Bobby counters, the fear and confusion clearly showing on his face. He doesn't understand why she seems to be taking this personally. Of course he doesn't understand! Why would he understand? Then Kate Beckett's carefully crafted world, the protective cocoon she has spun and weaved so precisely over the past nine or so months unravels in an instant.

"The hell you don't remember," she rages. "Do you want to know trauma? I was shot in the chest, and I remember every second of it . . . and so do you."

And in that instant, the subsequent silence damns them all.

"Oh dear God, no!" she immediately thinks to herself.

She realizes it as soon as she says it. She immediately turns and looks back at the two way mirror. At the man who she knows is standing in the next room, watching her. She knows how he loves to watch her interrogate a suspect. She can't see him, of course, through the mirrored window, but she knows he is there. Further, she knows just where he is standing. He's a creature of habit. We all are. She knows where he likes to stand, probably a cup of coffee in hand, admiring her work.

She turns to Bobby Lopez again, and then back to the mirrored window, indecisive. She senses she is mere minutes from a full confession from this knucklehead – a confession they desperately need. She also knows that – if she does nothing – she is mere seconds away from losing perhaps the best friend – the best thing ever to happen to her, before this 'thing' even starts.

It's a lousy choice.

It's no choice at all.

She offers a now very confused Bobby Lopez a final glance, and he pushes himself further from the table, trying desperately to put more distance between himself and this intimidating woman and her cold stare. Suddenly, her mind made up, she heads toward the door, her eyes moving back to the mirrored window, and they hold fast to the window with each step she takes. Her eyes have lost their anger, their fury. Her eyes are now pleading with these final steps to the door, hoping he is still there. Hoping he has not bolted.

Who is she kidding? Bolting is exactly what she would do. It's what she has already been doing. For months. Run. For months – scratch that – for almost a year, she has been a distance runner, putting more and more emotional real estate between the two of them. Sure, she tells herself, they've been getting closer. A shared touch of fingers, a lingering glance accompanied by knowing smiles. But in truth, outside of the 'almost openings' they have shared over the past twenty four hours, they are really no closer than ever. They are no closer to a serious conversation. Her détente at the swing set all those months ago served its deceptively dual purpose so well. It's kept him here, and it's kept him away. Always in sight, and always at arm's length, never closer.

Look, but don't touch.

Touch, but don't taste.

In retrospect, it's the most selfish thing she has ever done, stringing him along with a vaguely-worded promise while she figures out just exactly what it is that she wants.

Everyone – from her best friend, Lanie, to Dr. Burke, to even her own dad – all of them have warned her incessantly about procrastinating, about waiting too long. Surprisingly, of the three, her psychiatrist is the most sympathetic towards her. Go figure.

Now, however, it is too late. Her lie – it turns out – as her father had warned repeatedly, was left out in the universe one day too long.

"A lie tends to grow its own legs, and walk places you never intended it to go, Katie," he had told her just a month ago or so. Damn him for being so prophetic.

"That's why you have to nip it in the bud. This one has been out there too long, and when it returns to you – and trust me, Katie, it will return – it won't be kind, it won't be patient, and it will reappear at the absolute worst time, when you are least prepared to deal with it."

Once again, her dad has been proven correct. For a brief instant she once again chastises herself for not taking seriously the advice from a recovering alcoholic. If anyone knows the depth of the damage possible from lying to oneself, it is Jim Beckett. She pushes the thought out of her mind as she exits the interrogation room, eyes fixed on the door into the viewing room, wondering if there is any apology conceivable that can fix this.