Title: Reality Best Served Cold

Author: A.j.

Rating: PG-ish

Spoilers: General Season 3. (Bishop is mentioned and a vague plot point, as is her reason for being present.)

Summary: Sometimes, a banana is just a banana. But other times, it's not.

***

She's always hated bananas.

It was a strange sort of thing. Alex loved squishy foods that she could play with. Something that rolled around her mouth that she could push through her teeth with her tongue. She'd grossed out many a boyfriend with that little proclivity. Not that they complained after she dug the thigh- high boots out of the back of the closet and called them 'Mr.' a few times.

God, men were easy. Twenty years of dating history had driven that little truth rather deeply home.

She's also a rather large fan of naturally sweet foods. Like most women of the modern world, she has a taste for chocolate. Mood swings were made that much more bearable with a square of the Cadbury's chocolate she had a friend in Twickenham ship to her every couple months. Still, refined sugar was okay, but it was honey and dates and pears and raw cane sugar that had her drooling in her sleep.

But bananas? They were a strange combination of the two. Just the exact balance of squishy and sweet that made her normally iron stomach turn and run screaming.

Normally.

Sitting on her big squishy couch in her tiny too-crowded apartment, Alex stared at the yellow fruit, still in its peel. Before today, she hadn't actually touched a banana in years. Well, outside helping Mrs. Rudoski pick up the contents of the grocery bag that had split four months ago.

Several sharp kicks in the direction of her abdomen reminded her that it wasn't her craving this thing.

Yeah, that was just a fitting metaphor for her life these days.

She sighed and began to peel.

It had seemed like such a good idea at the time. Help her big sister realize her life-long dream of having a baby. Give up a year physically, and back quietly away only to attend birthday parties and the occasional Sunday dinner. She'd read all the emotional psychobabble pamphlets and books that had been shoved her way. She was fully prepared to be completely unprepared at how hard giving the lump away was going to be.

But right now? The lump was making her crave bananas and solely responsible for the fact that her partner hadn't actually talked to her in three weeks.

Alex glared at her banana. She was going to have to eat it. The smell was making the 'Alex' part of her brain twitch, while the hormones controlled by her niece or nephew (okay, how was it fair that she wanted to know, but her sister and brother-in-law didn't so the doctor didn't say a word? It was her womb...) was making her mouth drool.

She wiped the back of her hand across her mouth and glared some more.

Okay, so it really wasn't Bobby's fault that he was being a complete ass. He and Bishop had been working really hard the last few months. Plus, while Bobby could be as warm and adaptive as hot jello poured into a mold, he did tend to compartmentalize things. He had a job to do and, for the time being, she wasn't part of that. Not fully.

She really shouldn't be hurt.

Quickly, she chomped down on the banana and chewed furiously. Swallow. Bite. Chew.

It was a stupid, and girly, and probably very hormonal reaction to a rather unique situation. It didn't help that the last few weeks had been pretty hard physically. The... last pregnancy had been a long time ago when her body had been a lot younger and hadn't been thrown through quite so many doors or down so many flights of stairs. And she'd forgotten how fifteen plus pounds on your middle fiddled with your center of balance. Just last week, she'd had to sit down for ten minutes after spending half an hour at the copier.

Cautiously, she squished some banana through her teeth. Nope. She still detested them.

Rationally, she was fine that Bobby was off scaring the new recruit into hero-worshipping spasms of delight. It was extremely funny from her perspective. And in a rather unprofessional stint last week, she and Deakins had a gossip and laugh in the poor girl's honor. Bishop was a decent detective and given a couple years to season, she'd be damn good at her job. As it stood now, though...

She did have to give Bobby credit. He hadn't drowned her or even filed a complaint. He was coping in the only way he could. By dragging the new girl around by the collar and being entirely himself.

Irrationally, she wanted him to file that complaint and stop working until she'd recuperated from dropping the sprog. And maybe drag her off to Aspen for a fun-filled weekend. Possibly declaring that Detective Bishop should be burned at the stake, all the while giving her the world's longest foot- rub. Ooo. Foot-rub.

Idly, as she bit down on the last of the banana, she wondered if he'd noticed that she'd started wearing athletic shoes to work. It was probably damn apparent, especially since she only came up to his armpit now. This she had learned after getting smashed against him in the elevator two days ago. Being short sure was a trial. Then again, she had been smashed up against her partner (a fairly attractive man, and oh, had her hormones been reminding her how long it had been since the last grossed-out boyfriend) for three minutes. And on some things he really wasn't that observant, bless his soul.

Still. She was being rational. Mostly. And the kid was due in a couple weeks. Then she'd laze about her apartment, being depressed because she wasn't reaping the sleepless benefits of a brand new baby for a couple more weeks after that.

And then everything would be normal again.

Alex sighed and dropped the peel in the wastebasket next to her couch. She got through the banana. She'd get through this. She and Bobby would be fine and back to their Dynamic Duo impression in no time at all. That's not to say he wouldn't get his ass soundly kicked for ignoring her the last few weeks, but then a girl had to have some fun, right?

Alex grinned evilly and flipped on her tv.

-fin-