Hello. In honor of a holiday that doesn't seem to get much focus – and to break up the quiet here – I offer this mini Thanksgiving story. For those who celebrate, I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving. For those that don't? Have a great day, anyway. Enjoy.
They jolted him every year.
He and Eames found themselves working on Thanksgiving, the NYPD basically needing some extra manpower. He had been willing to go it alone today. As he sat at his desk with his catered Thanksgiving meal provided to the department, Bobby reflected.
He always envied those snippets of seeming perfection that were those annual holiday commercials and songs. Of laughing families, silvery snowy skies, and laughter. It was all an illusion, bullshit. Just like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Great Pumpkin.
Certainly, it was pretty bullshit, but it was still all a lie in the end.
He thrived more on stark reality. Perhaps it was why he had gravitated towards police work. Uncovering every lie someone chose to conceal in the name of covering up a crime, exposing them and their weaknesses, their evil. Slay the monsters.
His reality, then, was long ingrained.
As a child, he learned that sometimes monsters didn't hide in closets or under the bed. The monsters instead hid in an even darker spot. His mother's mind. It was those monsters that ate away at his mother's sense of reality, and she became almost an illusion herself, the memories of her before the monsters came now a taunt more than a comfort.
As a teen, he learned that trying to win love from an indifferent father exhausted him to his core. He quit basketball, dove headlong into the "geeky" books his father abhorred. He learned that disappointment was a bitter, acrid pill to swallow. He also learned he had to rely on himself. He learned his brother was himself weak and could not help Bobby when he could barely help himself.
He learned that calamity and chaos were as familiar as breathing, eating, sleeping.
As an adult, he learned to hyper-focus. To bury that old companion of anarchy. Where his mother's mind floated off into its own tangents, he mastered an intense grip on his own, used his to isolate, examine, deduce. First through the military, honing his intellect for many different assignments and then, after, with police work, as he would read, digest, touch, cogitate, and form conclusions to expose more monsters.
He also learned that his profession, much like his existence, was a lonely one. And that lesson suited him fine, because it was in tandem with the lesson that people who claimed to love you would let you down. With that, trust was a rare commodity. As transient as his mother's ideations.
Major Case. And all of his past life lessons would tumble into disarray. Because upon being paired with Alexandra Eames, Bobby realized that his hard-won certainties were anything but.
One being that he didn't have to fight to get Alex's respect. (Well, not too hard.) To his ever-present shock, she had accepted him and his foibles and his eccentricities. Oh, sure, she would often tease him, but it was benevolent; her eyes, those almost caramel-colored eyes, they would dance as she would watch him jump, sway, bend. It was a game for two.
Alex would fight for him, protect him even from himself. Despite his trying to be honorable and save her from his wreck of a life. Maybe because of it. But it was Alex who watched, held her breath, tried to keep him on a path to…sanity? Salvation? He didn't know. And, as their time together lengthened, he no longer cared. Instead, he clung. Tightly. Always afraid he was suffocating her, but not able to let go.
But she didn't leave. Even when he deserved it, which was admittedly too often for his liking.
Guiltily, Bobby thought that, if she had, perhaps her career would be in a better place. Eames deserved…more.
But she's still here. With me.
Even today. When she could be with her family. She instead was here, as she wrinkled her nose at the lumpy potatoes, her computer and files pushed away for the makeshift feast.
"I thought you were eating with your family?" he had asked.
Her response, "I am," made him close his eyes, just for a moment, but he managed a smile.
"They'll save me some pie. You, too!" Alex had said, pointedly. He was going to her family's for dessert. Full stop. The end.
He didn't get a chance to go any further with his assessment as her voice filtered through.
"Rikers is probably eating better than we are," she sighed. "Not much here to be thankful for, is there?"
Bobby steeled himself and reached across their desks and grasped Alex's hand, as her brows shot up in surprise.
"Oh, I can think of one thing." He said, softly, as his eyes lingered on her face.