That Was Long Ago and That Was Yesterday
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating: PG
Random: I've seen five episodes, so. This is mostly semi-plots that progress.
Summary: Be good, be good, and weren't we?


"Well, shall we go?"
"Yes, let's go."

(They do not move.)

--

"Goren," she greets, when they've just met.

His handshake is firm, though his fingers are slow in wrapping around her own. Not hesitant. Thoughtful in the way they settle. He smirks and his hand is warm and she lets go.

"You always do that?" she asks. They've been partnered for two days. "The, you know, leaning tower of Goren?"

"I, um," he hesitates, shrugs, straightens his tie. "It's not something I really think about much."

She's about to reply when his phone rings. His face is suddenly still and she knows: they have a case. A short while later, Bobby is sniffing the ears of a dead woman, and it's the first thing that comes between them.

She realizes after two months that he doesn't talk about himself much. She wants to know him, needs to know him in this job, and so she starts watching him. At his desk, when they're at a scene, and begins to notice the way his posture differs depending on his environment and the unintentional half-swagger he has in late afternoons.

"You've been quiet," he says, keeping his eyes on the book in front of him. "Is there a problem – I mean." He stops, sighs, and flattens his hand on the tome. His eyebrows go angular and she knows he's curious. "You've been staring," he gestures towards himself, "at me."

"You've got books," she nods to the small library engulfing his desk, the majority of which isn't even case-related. "I prefer reading people." He tilts his head and she feels obligated to add, "Not so many big words."

"Hmm," he mumbles, shutting the book.

Alex watches, half-amused, as he twirls the woman one last time before bidding her goodbye.

"So," she starts, handing him his notebook. "You get anything out of that dance?"

"No," he replies and rubs the side of his head. He turns to glance at the woman, whose fluttering fingers are bidding him goodbye, and then back at Alex. "Not really."

Alex wonders what other women see as he towers over them with his genuine eyes and his easy smiles with teeth showing. She's invisible to him in certain ways and can't get over the fact that he thought of it first.

He reads. Books about men who cannot live where they were born, men who go forward stumbling regardless, men who feel their breath quicken to no purpose. All that fiction, it helps him forget the corpses he's counted in the last few weeks. He's learned from each one (parents who love their children but don't like them, how after that first death there is no other) and is grateful for that much.

He doesn't mention any of this to her. He knows the way she wears a gun on her hip, like she's carrying for her father, and maybe it's her own way of coping, but that doesn't make it any more healthy.

He uses a Polaroid as a bookmark. When he holds it between his fingers, he can feel words under his thumb, and when he looks at it, afterwards he can't close his eyes.

This is the year she spends New Year's Eve in the middle of a narrow Brooklyn street along with six police officers. She will stand over the body of an unlucky kid who, according to her ID, is seventeen years old and already cold to the touch. The girl's mother just screams and screams and Alex walks over to Bobby because she can't stand it.

Later, they're walking through the parking garage and she sees him a bit differently. He's slumping, closer to the ground. The schizophrenic mother and the brother who gambles on everything except his family, she understands how he's trying to never leave them, and that parts of him will always be straining.

At midnight, she presses him into a concrete column and kisses him. There's a celebration somewhere, she says, smiling, against his mouth. The kiss is chaste, but she smells the cigarettes he claims not to smoke, and it's such a small move to reset their limits. This is the year she begins to want it both ways.

Summer in their city is brutal, the weather engulfs, the sun and humidity like blankets. She is now four months pregnant. Bigger and softer in all those places he never touches. She nearly jumps out of her seat when his face suddenly appears in front of her.

"Eames." If she'd been standing, she would've tripped at the catch in his voice. His eyes are all over her face. Touching without touching. "You're tired," he says, so certain she wants to slap him.

"You're tall," she replies wryly. "As long as we're being obvious."

She's been having violent dreams. She wakes up clutching her own body, as if reassuring herself that she's strong enough for this child. She's terrified that he knows. That he can smell it on her.

"Let's," he leans into her and talks lower. Something pushes from behind her eyelids. "Get some ice cream?"

It's a strange thing to suggest, very Goren. She doesn't answer and he knows she agrees. He helps her up from her seat. His hands are as gentle as his voice and when he carefully takes the car keys from her curled fingers, she nearly cries.

--

She falls asleep in the car and wakes to find her cheek against the passenger side window, Bobby's hands on either side of her stomach, like they're trying to find a place to settle.

"Oh, hey," he looks up at her, his hands slowly sliding back. "You fell asleep ten minutes out and I thought, you're so tired," he shrugs, "I'll just take you home."

She glances past him and is surprised to see her building. He moves to get out of the car and she grabs his forearm to stop him.

"This kid's not going to bite," she says, and tugs at his wrist before he has a chance to respond, placing his hand to the left of her navel.

"What now?"

"Wait." She shifts in her seat. "It's usually when I'm comfortable that he starts to squirm."

"He?"

She nods as the baby starts to move. Bobby is very still as he lowers his head, but his hand is firm on her abdomen, and his silence carries a million little things.

"How does it feel?" he asks, after a few minutes.

"Mostly fluttering," she tells him, aware of his fingertips. "Right now, it's more like a small rumble."

"It's getting late." He removes his hand.

"It's been four months," she says as he moves his hand, "and you haven't said much about this." She pauses, tries to pick her words right. "What do you think?"

Two fingers playing over his lower lip, thumb rasping against his jaw line, his eyes scrape shyly over her face, like he's already forgotten that part of himself.

"I'm glad in a way, but this – I just don't know."

She smiles sadly, wonders what it is about men with soft brown eyes and such wary hearts, packed tight into their bodies with their father's hands.

"That's allowed, Bobby," she says, before getting out of the car, which was becoming too tight and too honest.

Five months later Alex screams like a stuck pig as she gives birth to her nephew. She is too tired to even roll over while the child is handed off to her sister. When she finally talks to Bobby, her hands are shaking, and she blames it on the drugs.

He hugs her the day she returns to work. It's brief. His arms are loose around her and it's like an accident, awkward and fumbling. The coffee still tastes like shit and there are several pieces of crumpled up paper on her chair. And Bobby, who knows better, stares at her as if the world cannot bear it.

"You see the, uh," he fidgets, "the whites of her eyes? Those lines? She was probably smothered …" he trails off, opens the girl's mouth. "There's something in here."

"Don't tell me," Alex says. "Someone made her eat her words."

There's a glint in his eye, but he just shakes his head, asks for an evidence bag.

Her hair slides forward and frames her face like a curtain as she looks down at a letter she wished she'd never written. Her throat tightens around the words she's asked to read, but she's not sure if it's because of a guilt she's not willing to admit or because of something else entirely.

He's standing next to another column as she tries to explain, make him understand, that her letter was not a vicious secret. She's relieved when he shakes it off and tells her it's fine, but she knows it's impossible to acknowledge something without also acknowledging the damage it could do.

Eventually, she'll kill a man with a double tap to the chest. He's still breathing as his body folds slowly onto the courthouse steps. It scares her how much quicker to pull her weapon she is than Bobby and how common death has become.

Chance Slaughter dies very quickly and very much a liar. Aside from the paperwork involved, she can't bring herself to care.

"Bobby," she says, when they've known each other for years.

He leans across the table, slides his palms along its surface. She's still staring up at him even though they're both sitting down. He reaches over and steals the cherry from her ice cream sundae, sucks on it for a few seconds, and then swallows it whole.

"Well," she says, pulse between her knees. "Metaphor much?"

He laughs loud, chin tucked into his shoulder as he takes her hand and lays it palm up on the table. He stares at it like he knows it's hard for her to keep a guard up all the time. His fingers find her skin like a dream, too thin for reality. He smirks and her hand is warm in his and she doesn't let go.