Disclaimer: Not mine. Spoilers for the most recent episode (don't know the title--Oct 10th). This is... set during the end, right before the final scene (which seems to have happened several weeks later anyway)
Notes: I seem to say this a lot, but in all honesty, I can't see ever writing a long CI fic. This simply popped into my head so I wrote it down.
Rating: PG.

Just Slipping Away by Ana Lyssie Cotton

"You just had to take it that much further, didn't you." Her tone is angry.

He knows, he knows that she isn't simply angry at him. But he is here, and he makes a convenient target. And he is also the reason her anger is allowing itself to boil over. "I couldn't... I couldn't let it happen."

"Oh, so you're god now?" Alex Eames knows how to make a low blow.

Bobby flinches, turns away from her as if that will make the lash of her rage miss him next time. "No, I just--" and he stops. How can he explain this to her? She has no compassion for the man they've just sentenced to a life of prison.

"This is not about you, Bobby. This man had no tie to you. None."

"No. No, he didn't."

She falls silent, her eyes suddenly exhausted as she studies him. "You saw yourself in him, didn't you?" It's not a question she wants to ask.

And it's not a question he has to answer. "You want to get a coffee?"

"No." She ducks her head, picks up the pen on her desk and sighs. "I think I'm calling it a night."

It comes to Bobby Goren, as he watches his partner swing her jacket around, that she is not merely tired of this case. She is tired of him, she is weary of putting up with his quirks and mannerisms. She--to use a horrible cliche (and he knows how useful cliches can be, even if they sometimes disappoint) is worn out with the travails of dealing with an over-active Robert Goren.

And there really isn't anything he can do to make it better.

He can only, simply, be himself. "Eames."

She looks up from closing down her laptop. "Goren."

"I--he... he reminded me of, of my mother." Not completely the truth, but he can't tell her the whole truth and nothing but the truth (so help his soul). "When she would descend, when she wouldn't quite know what she was doing. Back--back when it was... almost good."

"Almost." Those very tired eyes still look at him, then she closes her laptop. "I'll see you in the morning."

"Yeah."

"Don't stay all night, okay?" It was standard, for them. the roles they played. He, the over-achiever, the brain, the one who went above and beyond any call of duty to use his brilliant mind against the darkness of the world. She was his caretaker, the keeper of his sanity. And maybe his soul.

"I'll be home by 9. Promise."

"Cross your heart?" There is almost something light in her tone.

"And hope to die," he whispers.

Dead silence as they meet each other's eyes one last time. Then she nods, lips set in a line. "Good night, Bobby."

"Night, Alex."

For just a moment, he feels the world align properly.

And then she is gone.

There are reports to finish typing up, reasons and profiles that have been shoved to the side during this case.

He can bury himself in the mundanity.

And maybe forget, for a little while, the knowledge that she no longer believes in him.

-f-