Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me, more's the pity.
A/N: A random oneshot missing scene for Pardoner's Tale, just because I was intrigued by what Bobby thought of Lewis's declaration that he was in love with Alex. Fluffy and not exactly high literature, but hey, it's fun.
"Whoa. I think I'm in love."
Eames looked from Bobby to his mechanic friend, who had been introduced as Lewis, and rolled her eyes. "That's the trouble with thinking," she told Lewis, giving him a smile to soften the rejection. "It gives you ideas."
Next to her, she noticed that Bobby was bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, an indication that he wanted to get moving. Well, they were talking to his friend, she reminded herself. She wasn't going be the one to declare that it was time to leave.
"I guess that's a 'no'?" Lewis shrugged philosophically. "Figures. Bobby always gets to the girls first. Nice meeting you, Detective."
She didn't know what to say to that, so she just smiled again and elbowed her partner in the ribs.
"Uh, yeah," Goren said distractedly, looking down at her. "We have to get going. Thanks, Lewis."
"So you always get to them first, huh?" she said with a grin as they pulled away from Lewis's garage.
"Sorry about that." He glanced at her quickly, then looked away. "He tends to blurt things out without thinking."
"Well, he thinkshe's in love, remember?"
"Yeah, well, he's thinking with the wrong organ," Bobby muttered under his breath.
Without taking her eyes off the road, she took one hand off the wheel to punch him in the arm. "That was uncalled for, Goren."
He gave her a sheepish smile that she didn't see. "Sorry."
"Forgiven," she said after sighing dramatically. "I'm going to take it as a compliment that you think I'm attractive to any organ at all."
Finally, Bobby managed weakly, "I didn't mean -"
"I still want to know what he meant about you getting all the girls first. You have a history of stealing dates out from under him or something?"
It was a little too vehement a protest, and she looked over at him with raised eyebrows. "No?"
"No," he repeated with a scowl.
"Riiight." She left it at that, letting the uncomfortable silence build again and hoping he'd feel the need to explain himself.
A minute passed, then two.
"I don't have to steal women."
Aha! She smelled a wounded ego. "I didn't say you had to. I just asked if you did,"she pointed out calmly. "And judging from the way you're avoiding answering the question, I'm going to guess the answer is yes. Poor Lewis; no wonder he tried to jump on me!"
"I don't . . .!" he growled, slapping a hand down on the dashboard. "Lewis knows better than to try to jump on you with me around."
Alex blinked. "Uh, he does?"
"He . . ." He stopped there, seeming to have just realized what he was saying. "Never mind."
"No, I want to know what you meant by that!"
"I didn't mean anything by it," he said with a sigh. "It was just . . . a comment."
"Bobby." She pulled the car into the One PP parking garage and cut the engine. "Sure, it was a 'comment,', but I want to know why you made that comment. You've never acted like I need protection from men before, and Lewis seems like a decent guy."
He grabbed for the door handle, then forced himself to slow down so he didn't look like he was trying to bolt. "I wasn't trying to protect you." A pause. "Well, I mean I guess I was, but it's not that I think you need protection from Lewis, or anyone else."
Alex just raised an eyebrow, silently pointing out the contradiction in his statement.
Bobby cleared his throat, hesitated a moment, and then made a swift exit from the car without another word.
"You sit across from me," Alex called after him, watching with a small smile as he tried to flee across the garage. "Your escape will only last until we get upstairs."
Realizing the truth of her statement, Bobby stopped walking, turning to wait for her. "Sorry."
Jogging the last few steps to catch up with him, she just smiled. "Protecting me is a touchy subject with you, apparently. Want to tell me why that is?"
"Will you tell me anyway?" She took hold of his arm as he turned back toward the elevator, forcing him to drag her along behind him. "Come on, I'm not going to laugh or anything."
"There's nothing to explain about it," he insisted, looking down at her. "All I meant was that Lewis . . . knows better than to do anything that messes with my work."
"And him falling in love with me messes with your work?"
"Yes," he said shortly, removing her hand from his arm as the elevator doors closed in front of them. "It's a, uh, distraction."
"Why?" she pressed.
He sighed. "Don't you ever run out of questions?"
Alex grinned. "Not when it comes to your protective instincts and date-stealing, apparently."
"I don't steal dates!"
"Oh?" she asked teasingly, reaching for his arm again just to annoy him. "Then why did he say that you do, hmm?"
"I don't know!"
"Bobby!" She released his arm and gave him an elbow in the side as the elevator doors opened, depositing them on the eleventh floor. "Stop being such a wuss and just admit that you act like a guy sometimes. Hey, if she's hot and Lewis doesn't have an official claim on her, why not?" she asked with a careless grin.
He glanced down at her, surprised, then sighed. "It happened once, ok? In high school. Lewis just . . . has a long memory."
"Hmm. I would, too, if you'd stolen my girlfriend."
"If I had stolen your girlfriend," he replied, giving her a shameless grin at his seizure of the easy joke, "we wouldn't be in this predicament."
Alex snorted. "If you'd stolen my girlfriend, you and Lewis would probably be selling tickets and inviting me to join you."
Choking on a laugh, he shook his head in amazement that she'd easily beaten his off-color insinuation. "You win. Now, can we forget about Lewis's love life and get back to work?"
She reached up to pat his shoulder, then allowed her hand to linger there as they walked into the squad room. "Only if I get to hear about yours while we work, Bobby."
Before answering, he looked pointedly at her hand, then reached up to remove it. "That won't take long. You and your hand are about the extent of it."
Pressing her lips together to hold back a burst of laughter, Alex just stared at him until she was sure she had control of herself. "Don't let people hear you say that too loud. They might, uh, take it the wrong way."
He looked at her contemplatively. "Well, it's a very nice hand."
"Bobby!" She slapped him lightly on the arm, then smiled in spite of herself. "You, me, and my hand need to solve a pair of murders right now. After that, we'll talk."
"We will?" he asked, startled.
"Yeah, sure." She grinned. "My hand's got a thing for tall men in suits."
"Interesting," he murmured, giving her a gentle push toward her chair. "Lewis might have to suck it up on this one."
Alex faked a look of shocked disapproval as she flipped open the folder that lay on top of her desk. "There you go again, stealing your friend's prospective date."
With a careless shrug, he reached across to filch the top page in the folder. "He can have your elbow, if he absolutely insists."
Rolling her eyes, Alex threw an eraser at him.