Disclaimer: Not mine. Set: Sometime after the most recent episode (the title of which I don't know). Rating: PG.
Notes: Just... something odd that came to me at work. Don't know who the counselor is, don't know much else.

Expected Response by Ana Lyssie Cotton

"Do you know what the hardest thing is?"

Alex Eames was never certain why she actually talked when she was there. He watched her, his dark eyes calm and thoughtful. He let her pace or sit or do nothing. They talked or they didn't talk, it was all the same to him. But sometimes she talked about things that weren't trivial. Her baby, the way handing it over had felt so strange. And now him.

"The hardest thing... it's that--he doesn't even understand. Or maybe he does."

Counseling sessions were confidential, which made her happy. It also made her Captain happy to know that she wasn't cracking up. Even if he seemed to think her partner was.

"I don't want them all dead. Criminals, or bad guys, or what have you."

Not that the force had ordered these. No. She'd stepped into them herself, searched until she found someone she thought she could almost trust. Someone who might let her be herself, the way he did. But now she talked about him here, and it was all beginning to change. This wasn't about him.

"I just don't understand sympathy. Or patience or--"

It was supposed to be about her.

"Or letting them get away with murder because he thinks they're like him."

And that was why she talked about him now. It scared her to see him like this, to sense that at some level he was slipping into the delusion that he would become them. That he could be like them.

"I'm not saying he's cracked. I'm not saying I think he ever will."

He hasn't. This is about her, and her perceptions. This has nothing to do with him.

"But I sure wish... I sometimes wonder."

Loss of faith. It all had to do with a loss of faith. When she was in vice, she'd known how the system worked, she'd understood the dirt under her nails and the grittiness of the streets. But he gave her skewed vision. He grabbed hold of her set ideals and held them up to the sun and showed them to be so much tattered stained glass.

"Y'know, I was talking to a girlfriend the other day. Yeah. I've got them. They're sparse, though."

They were very sparse. Tonya was the last, almost. She had her brother and his wife, and a few others. But she was closer to her snitches and that ex-lover in the FBI than she was to other women.

"She thinks I need a vacation. What vacation? I just had one when I had a baby."

Stockings and caps and little booties. She once thought knitting could be fun until she tried it. She doesn't have the patience for knitting. He might, though, and the mental image of big Bobby Goren knitting away industriously at little pink booties was enough to make her giggle.

"Damn. Time's up, isn't it."

A slight smile, "Indeed."

"Thanks, Doc." She tossed over her shoulder as she got up. He was always so polite. And silent. She liked that he never assays a solution. Because she doesn't want a solution. A solution would end these sessions, and she was pretty sure she didn't want them to end.

"Next week, Alex?"

"Yeah." She glanced back from the door and nodded. "See you then."

-f-